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PET GAZETTE JuLY 2012

www.petgazette.biz

ISSN 2046-7303

New arrivals

Introducing a kitten to the home

Water world Tips on creating a garden pond

Often overlooked, birds can bring regular repeat business and healthy profits Walk the line Advice and accessories to help owners get enjoyment from exercising their dogs

Economy of scale With reptile sales rising, retailers must stock suitable species to meet this demand


July 2012 

PET GAZETTE


This month

Editor’s letter

JuLY 2012 Contents Roundup 

4

Three minute interview 

5

New appointments

8

The latest news from the industry Carina Evans, CEO, Dog Rocks Ltd Pastures new for professionals in the pet trade

Taking stock 

10

Hot spots 

14

Scratching the surface 

16

An innovative and varied range of pet products This month, Michael Bellingham advises retailers how to make the most of the summer season and merchandise their products effectively Ray O’ Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH looks at the transmission of fleas and ticks in household pets and how owners can deal with infestations

New arrivals 

20

Food for thought 

24

Walk the line 

28

Focus on…snacks and treats 

32

Hot dogs, hot days 

35

Going for a song 

38

Pond life 

43

Water world

44

Economy of scale 

48

Voice on the highstreet 

58

Introducing a new kitten to the home will require key adjustments and a wide range of products and accessories that will change as the animal grows, as Naida Ally discovers Although still very much a niche market, the interest in vegetarian pets foods is growing, as Chris Winchester from V-dog finds out David Chamberlain BVetMed MRCVS, veterinary consultant for Petsafe, looks at the psychological and physical benefits of exercise for dogs Rather than being just an afterthought, treats and snacks make up an important sector of the pet food market This month Deana Selby of Dogs Trust looks at the charity’s latest campaign to highlight the dangers of leaving dogs in cars over the summer months and offers tips on keeping pets cool in the heat Kept for their song and their colour, canaries still remain popular among bird keeping enthusiasts, and here we look at some of the companies catering for their needs In the second of his columns for Pet Gazette, OATA chief executive Keith Davenport discusses how his organisation can benefit garden pond retailers Lucy Bearman, aquatic brand manager at Interpet, offers advice on creating the perfect garden pond John Berry reveals more about the different species of snakes suitable for keeping as pets Hammond and Richard Page, Grumpy Pets Ltd, Cambridge

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any of you may already have seen the national TV ad for Pets at Home, which features various employees demonstrating their expertise of animals to the tune of You Make me Happy by the latest up-and-coming singer/ songwriter Sophie Madeleine. The marketing director of Pets at Home said the ultimate aim of campaign is to show that whether someone owns a hamster or a bearded dragon, owners can talk to an employee of the company who genuinely understands their pets’ needs. There are many in the pet trade who will feel that Pets at Home is simply doing what the independent pet sector has been doing very well for many years – demonstrating a depth of knowledge that sets it apart from the competition. Mary Portas in her review of the British high street emphasised that in this climate, “where generalists rule the roost, smaller shopkeepers should reassert their specialism.” By doing this, not only can they gain an advantage over their rivals, they will also secure customer loyalty, as it is the value of a real expert that is prized most highly. Perhaps this is why Pets at Home is so keen to show that the basis of its business is not the thrill of the sale, but that it “knows pets by heart.” We have called upon a wide range of experts to offer advice and tips for the pet trade in this issue, including reptile specialist John Berry, chief executive of OATA Keith Davenport, and veterinary experts David Chamberlain BVetMed MRCVS and Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH. I hope you enjoy this issue. Sam Guiry sam@petgazette.biz

July 2012

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Roundup

PET GAZETTE Established 2008

Managing Editor

Louise Hoffman louise@petgazette.biz Editor

Sam Guiry sam@petgazette.biz Editorial Assistants

Naida Ally naida@petgazette.biz

Callum Gildart callum@petgazette.biz Reporter

Emily Northcott

Protecting staff from shop violence The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest annual crime survey has revealed that more than 35,000 members of staff working in retail suffered physical or verbal abuse during a 12-month period. Leading retailers have come together to ensure the best possible measures are in place to protect shop staff from violence, after the BRC’s figures showed an 83 per cent increase in incidents when compared to 2010. Retail workers are being urged by the BRC to report every incident to help them to build a bigger picture that they hope will encourage the police and criminal justice system to give the problem the attention it deserves. In response to the survey’s findings, the BRC is publishing new guidance, Tackling Violence Against Staff, that aims to help retailers of all sizes improve staff protection. The BRC says that police and the criminal justice system need to respond more effectively when retail staff are attacked or abused. Catherine Bowen, British Retail Consortium’s head of crime, said: “Protecting staff from violence means taking many factors into account, from the positioning of in-store CCTV to how those who carry out attacks are prosecuted. Our new guidelines will help businesses be sure they’ve done all they can to prevent staff from being attacked or abused.” BRC’s new guidelines are available online at www.brc.org.uk/downloads/tackling_violence_against_staff.pdf

emily@petgazette.biz Deputy Production Editor

Lewis Bowes copy@petgazette.biz Group Advertisement Manager

Kelly Smith kelly@petgazette.biz Advertisement Manager

Julie-Ann Kwok julie@petgazette.biz Accounts

Maureen Scrivener accounts@petgazette.biz Customer Services

01206 767 797

Dog show helps to raise £30,000 for breast cancer charity The recent Canine Awareness Day at Staffordshire’s Chasewater Country Park has helped pet accessories company Ancol raise over £30,000 for Breast Cancer Campaign. More than £300 was raised at the event from the sale of Ancol’s range of pink pet products, such as collars, leads, beds and toys, developed in partnership with Breast Cancer Campaign. Sales director of Ancol, Sarah Lane, said: “Taking part in events such as Canine Awareness Day has helped us raise more than £30,000 for Breast Cancer Campaign.” Various awards were handed out during the day in an array of categories like ‘best party trick’ and ‘dog that looks most like its owner’.

customers@mulberrypublications.co.uk Contributing writers

Michael Bellingham, John Berry, David Chamberlain, Keith Davenport, Ray O’Mahony, Deana Selby, Chris Winchester Design

Arthouse Publishing Solutions Ltd 01394 410 490 contact@arthousepublishing.co.uk

ISSN 2046-7303 Pet Gazette is published monthly by:

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 Fax: 01206 767 532

www.petgazette.biz The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.

July 2012 

Joint Aid for Dogs helps Skinner’s to award success Skinner’s has won Gundog Product of the Year with its Field & Trial Turkey & Rice at the 2012 IPC Shooting Industry Awards. Launched in February 2011, Field & Trial Turkey & Rice is the only dog food to contain the branded mobility supplement Joint Aid for Dogs, made by GWF Nutrition. The combination of the two feeds enables owners to provide this supplement in one complete feed at a daily maintenance level. The food is aimed at working dogs who regularly take part in trialling, tests and pickingup, as well as other fast paced or demanding sports and activities such as agility, flyball and racing. The company says: “All of these activities can put strain on joints and muscles and Joint Aid for Dogs provides complementary nutritional support, which can help to maintain healthy digestion and freedom of movement as it aids the normal anti-inflammatory actions of the dogs’ metabolism.”

PET GAZETTE


Roundup

Retailers urged to promote welfare for the UK’s third most popular pet Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) 2012, which hops off on 15 September, is calling on the pet retail trade to support this year’s campaign. The week offers free veterinary health checks for the nation’s rabbits, with particular focus on the need to get rabbits vaccinated against Myxomatosis and RHD. Pet trade retailers are being urged to run their own events and promotions in order to help spread the message about preventing and raising awareness of rabbit health issues, directing pet owners to participating clinics for free rabbit health checks. The 2012 event will see a mass PR, advertising and marketing campaign with backing from Burgess Excel and RAW partners, including Panacur Rabbit, the RSPCA, the PDSA, the Blue Cross, Wood Green Animal Shelters and the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund, which are the driving forces behind the RAW 2012 initiative. Naomi Chatterley, marketing manager at Burgess Excel, said: “Following the success of last year’s event, our aim is to create an even bigger success in 2012. This September, we really want to drive home the message that two of the most devastating illness that rabbits can get could be very easily prevented through a simple annual vaccination. Retailers are key to helping us achieve our aim of educating owners about responsible rabbit ownership and improving the wellbeing of Britain’s third most popular pet.” If you are interested in raising awareness and supporting RAW in 2012 please visit www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk to order your free support kit and register your event

Call for compulsory microchipping after increase in guide dog attacks More guide dogs are being attacked by other dogs than ever before according to new figures. An average of eight guide dogs per month are being hurt and this increase in attacks has led to David Cowdrey of Guide Dogs to call for compulsory microchipping of all dogs. “There are a lot of out-of-control dogs and unfortunately the legislation in the UK doesn’t take into account responsible dog ownership in the way we’d like to see it,” said Mr Cowdrey. “We want to see compulsory microchipping for all dogs in the United Kingdom within two years.” Mr Cowdrey believes the Government’s current plans to microchip all puppies will take “10 to 15 years to come into effect,” and describes it as “unenforceable”. Jim Moran, owner of Carlton, a guide dog recently attacked, remarked: “I could have been inconvenienced for a very long time. What guide dog owners would like to see is attacks on guide dogs being treated the same as attacks on humans.” Compulsory microchipping of all dogs is seen as beneficial because it will create a link between a dog and its owner. Mr Cowdrey views this as useful because he believes “there is no such thing as a bad dog; just a bad owner.” “At present you can only prosecute [the owner of an attacking dog] if it’s an attack on a person,” Mr Cowdrey added. “We want to see an offence created for a dog attack on a guide dog or other assistance dog.”

Dates for your diary 4 – 5 September

16 September

PetEx Dublin, Ireland www.petex.ie

Pet Industry Awards Dinner Harrogate, Yorkshire www.petcare.org.uk

16 – 17 September

17 – 19 September

PATS Harrogate IC, Yorkshire www.patshow.co.uk

Glee Garden Retail Show NEC Birmingham www.gleebirmingham.com

PET GAZETTE

Three minute interview

Carina Evans, CEO, Dog Rocks Ltd Describe yourself in three words Thorough, tenacious and exhausted!

When you were at school, what did you want to be and why? A vet because I wanted to work with horses. Before that I wanted to be a secretary but was told I was not allowed – why I simply don’t know!

What was the first music album you bought? Cliff Richard, or was it Michael Jackson? At the age of about nine I fell in love with both!

What was your first job? A groom at the age of 12 for £1 per hour.

What is the most important thing that your job has taught you? Although companies may appear to have rapid double digit growth, often things are not as they seem but their true grit and determination and ability to survive will come through when pushed to the wire.

How did you get into the pet trade? By accident; I was really happy as operations assistant at Arena Leisure helping to look after six racecourses throughout the UK. When an opportunity in the pet trade arose, I did both for a while and had two kids until Dog Rocks became established and now I am busier than I ever have been – sleep is just a bonus.

Who has been the biggest inspiration to you in your professional life? My husband and the Dalai Lama – there is no huge distinction between professional and personal life; one is the other and vice-versa.

What are you hoping to achieve at Dog Rocks? Worldwide, efficient, seamless and huge distribution in the long-term; to build a successful team to handle the above in the medium-term; and to meet demand in the short-term.

Do you have any pets? Two dogs, five chickens and countless horses.

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Roundup

and briefly Bob Martin is back on TV Bob Martin, the pet healthcare specialist, is celebrating its 120th birthday with a return to television. Promoting the company’s new FleaClear product, Bob Martin’s first TV advert since 1987 will run on ITV2, ITV3 and Sky in between popular shows such as America’s Got Talent, Heartbeat and The Dog Whisperer.

New ‘Face of Laughing Dog’ Keeley, an Irish lurcher owned by Gemma Sherwin, has been named the new face of Laughing Dog dog food. Gemma, a psychological therapist from Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Keeley will be going onto all of the Laughing Dog bags.” Head judge Janette Leggate, of Laughing Dog, remarked: “It was a really tough decision to pick our favourite and at times I felt a bit like Simon Cowell. There were a few disagreements along the way but in the end we all agreed that we would love to see Keeley on the thousands of show bags representing Laughing Dog.”

Luxury 5-star hotel for cats The first franchise for the Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel Group has launched in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The concept was developed by 35-year-old Abi Purser who opened the first hotel in Welwyn Garden City in 2010 in response to the “poor standard of care offered by most catteries in the UK”. The custombuilt 5-star accommodation is made up of six individually decorated bedroom suites designed around the feline guests’ wellbeing and their owners’ peace of mind.

Greyhounds gather at event Greyhound lovers and dogs alike came from across Britain to attend the third annual Greyhound Extravaganza. Organised by the Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT), the event featured trade stands, food and drink, and dog classes for all breeds, not just greyhounds. Samuel Zelmer-Jackson, media and PR manager for the RGT, said: “Not only is the extravaganza designed as a fun day out for the family and their pets, it is also a great way for the public to find out why greyhounds make such wonderful pets.”

BVA supports vet medicine website accreditation The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has launched a voluntary scheme for online veterinary medicines retailers to receive accreditation from the regulator so that animal owners can source medicines safely. The VMD’s Accredited Internet Retailer Scheme involves an application process and site inspection to check ongoing compliance with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has supported the move, but called for the scheme to become compulsory. The BVA is also calling for more robust measures to stop prescription fraud and is in discussions with the VMD. Commenting, Harvey Locke, past president of the BVA, said: “Our biggest concern with online medicines retailers has been that animal owners didn’t know whether they were buying genuine, safe medicines that comply with UK regulations. “This simple scheme launched by the VMD will allow customers to know within seconds whether the company they are using complies with the high standards set by UK legislation and the regulator.”

Dog charity receives cash boost from animal health company Veterinary health company Ceva has raised more than £1,000 for its charity of the year, Medical Detection Dogs, during the recent BSAVA Congress and the inaugural Ceva Awards for Animal Welfare. Medical Detection Dogs trains dogs to recognise life-threatening health conditions in humans. Using the dogs’ sense of smell, they can be trained to identify the odour of cancer and support individuals who live with potentially dangerous health conditions such as aggressive diabetes or narcolepsy. Kirsti Hummel, communications manager at Ceva, said: “The team here at Ceva is passionate about fundraising for the charity, which is evident from the fantastic amount already raised from one event.” Clare Guest, director of Medical Detection Dogs, said: “Medical Detection Dogs wouldn’t be able to continue its work without the support of companies such as Ceva. As an organisation, we face a lot of competition from other charities, and it’s lovely to know the staff at Ceva value what we do and want to support us.”

OATA shows support for Aquatics Live 2012 OATA (Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association) has announced it will be supporting Aquatics Live in November 2012. Aquatics Live will be used by OATA to highlight the association’s activities and its support and protection of the aquatic industry, from wholesale operations to suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and, ultimately, fish-keepers. Members of OATA committed to exhibit at the show include Pets At Home, Maidenhead Aquatics, Tetra, Hagen, Devotedly Discus, King British and Sparsholt College. OATA chief executive Keith Davenport said: “The return of Aquatics Live is a good indicator of how popular fish-keeping is in the UK and we believe that anything that raises awareness of fish-keeping is a good thing for the industry. With visitor numbers forecast to double this year, we are looking forward to a successful show, with the opportunity of meeting consumers together with existing and prospective trade members.”

AD July 2012 

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PET GAZETTE

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New appointments

New appointments Pastures new for professionals in the pet trade Beaphar UK Beaphar recently announced the appointment of Virginia Harvey as pet product manager for its marketing department. Virginia is tasked with providing “first class marketing support” for the company’s cat and dog product ranges, and a key focus will be launching new and innovative products to market and providing product support for both retailers and pet owners. Virginia has worked in marketing for over five years and has successfully completed her CIM marketing qualifications. “I am delighted to be joining a company that has a true passion for pets, I love animals and am so pleased to be joining Beaphar and the pet industry,” said Virginia.

New Era – Red Sea New Era Aquaculture and Red Sea Aquatics UK Ltd are delighted to announce the expansion of their joint sales force with the appointment of Richard Tarleton as technical sales west. Richard, a keen marine tank owner, was previously in sales with the Coca Cola corporation. Tom Noble, sales manager for New Era and Red Sea, said: “Adding Richard to the team means that our UK retail customers are now all being served by three very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and well-respected aquarists.” Commenting on his new role, Richard added: “The industry has made me feel very welcome in my first few weeks and it’s great to be able to combine my passion for fishkeeping with my day job!”

European Pet Organisation Janet Nunn, chief executive of the Pet Care Trade Association, has been re-elected vicepresident of the European Pet Organisation for a third term at its AGM held at Interzoo. “I am delighted and honoured to be re-elected as vice-president and look forward to working with my European colleagues for a further two years, representing the interests of the PCTA members at European level,” said Janet. The EPO is the body under which national pet trade organisations in Europe collaborate to strengthen their position on European and international issues.

Mutneys Emma Swann has recently joined Mutneys as show van co-ordinator. This new role, will involve communicating with customers to arrange for the fully-stocked show van to call at their salons and drop off orders. Emma, who has an agricultural background, said: “I have previously worked very hands-on with animals, so I am really excited about this new role, building up relationships with the customers and meeting everyone at dog shows.”

The Pet Care Trade Association The Pet Care Trade Association has appointed Keith Aldis as the new chair of the board. He took over from outgoing chairman Stephen Hampson on 1 May. Until recently, Keith was chief executive of the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF), a global body operating in 53 countries and based in the UK, near Reading. He was previously the chief executive of the British Institute of Cleaning Science based in Northampton and was chairman of the SFIA Foundation, operating by and large in the IT industry and across 100 countries. He has also held a number of executive and non-executive roles in industry, notably as interim CEO of the JIB for Plumbing and Mechanical Engineering Services and as a consultant to the British Society of Aesthetic Practitioners.

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

July 2012 

PET GAZETTE


PET GAZETTE

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Taking stock

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Absorption Corp One of the leaders in the small pet bedding market, Absorption Corp has achieved lower dust levels in its premium bedding products, something that has led the company to describe its odourcontrol bedding, litter and enrichment products as “game-changing”. Absorption Corp says its new, proprietary odour-control formula suppresses ammonia two to three times longer than its original CareFRESH products, as well as its competitive paper/fibre based beddings and litters. Information: www.absorptioncorp.com

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Kennelpak To cater to the growing number of pets suffering from grain intolerance, Kennelpak is introducing Taste of the Wild; a grain-free pet food developed to provide pets with a natural, balanced diet. Taste of the Wild has a high meat content that’s supplemented with fruits and vegetables and comes in a variety of flavours. Information: 0115 939 9077, sales@kennelpak.co.uk or www.tasteofthewildpetfood.co.uk

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KONG Company The KONG Company is giving caption contest entrants the chance to win a free practice ticket for the October 2012 British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) Congress in Telford. The ticket entitles three BVNA members from the same practice to attend on any two days of their choice. As part of the prize Kong will also pay for the winners to stay up to two nights in accommodation local to the BVNA venue. For a chance to win the prize and request an entry form and image, contact Hannah Slater using the details below. Information: 01308 869 007 or hannah.slater@kongcompany.com

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Petstar Software developer Petstar has launched a range of dog USB flash drives that come in a range of four designs. Each USB pet has its own visual personality and can be attached to a key chain or is small enough to fit in a pocket. All of the designs have a storage capacity of 4GB equivalent to about 700 music tracks or about 1,700 photos, making them great for everyday use. Information: 07876 203 191 or davidw@petstar.co.uk

July 2012 

PET GAZETTE


Taking stock

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HG Gladwell Corporals Crunch Working Dog Food, is a new working dog food made exclusively for Copdock Mill. The company states that it has a “healthy margin for a working dog food,” which means that as a new entry onto the working dog market it “has become an instant hit.” Information: 01473 730 246 or info@copdockmill.co.uk

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AnimAlarm AnimAlarm is a portable gadget that alerts pet owners if the set temperature in their pet’s location has been exceeded. Warm temperatures in the home and car can be dangerous to animals and, in extreme cases, result in death. AnimAlarm monitors the temperature in a pet’s vicinity and alerts the owner on their mobile phone, should the previously set temperature be reached. For peace of mind the gadget will also send a current temperature message when called or text messaged by the registered phone. Information: www.animalarm.co.uk

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Northern Pet Trade From Super Pet, the maker of Kaytee Exact, comes a range of interactive toys for small- to medium-sized pet birds and parrots. The range has the concept of foraging throughout and includes perches, swings, ladders, foot toys and interactive pods, which fit to most wire bird cages. The avian enrichment pods can also be attached to a Desktop Activity Centre, offering a safe and fun place to play and explore. Information: www.northernpettrade.com

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Liberta UK Liberta UK has launched its new range of M-03 Hamster Cages and each comes complete with a detatchable wheel/ball with a repetition counter built in. The cages also come in a range of colours.

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Information: 01379 870 148, sales@libertauk.com or www.libertauk.com Tropical Marine Centre The new V2Bio React 500 pellet reactor from Tropical Marine Centre has a unique patented design that incorporates a specially-designed flow inductor to maximise the media-to-water contact time within the reactor, ensuring efficient fluidisation of media, even when using lower flow rate pumps. The compact design means it can be installed internally in a sump or aquarium or externally as a stand-alone or ‘hang-on’ reactor. The V2Bio React 500 can be used with both freshwater and marine aquariums and is supplied with 500 millilitres of Tropic Marin NP Bacto Pellets. Information: 01923 284 151 or www.tropicalmarinecentre.co.uk

PET GAZETTE

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Taking stock

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Ceva Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are veterinary behavioural products. Feliway is a synthetic copy of the pheromone cats use when they feel safe in their environment. Ceva states that Feliway is proven to prevent or reduce problems such as vertical scratching, urine marking and intercat tension. Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the appeasing pheromone mother dogs produce to comfort their young and, Ceva says, is proven to help puppies and adult dogs cope in stressful situations such as settling into a new home, travelling, kennelling and loud noises. Point of sale materials are also available to order upon request. Information: 01494 781 510 or retailuk@ceva.com

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Monkfield Nutrition Monkfield Nutrition has introduced a new and convenient way to buy frozen rodents packed in smaller amounts. Each pack comes with 10 to 20 mice or rats (dependent on size) and is heat sealed and re-sealable to keep the frozen food fresh. Mice and rats are also available individually bagged and bar coded. Information: 01223 208 261 or www.monkfieldnutrition.co.uk

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Dorwest Herbs Warm wet weather is both the prime feeding and prime breeding time for fleas. Dorwest Herbs offers natural deterrents such as Garlic Tablets and Pennyroyal Dog & Cat Shampoo for a safe and effective solution. Garlic Tablets help provide a hostile environment for fleas and other external parasites which, when combined with the mint-scented Pennyroyal Dog & Cat Shampoo, provides a successful, natural answer to the problems they cause. Information: 01308 897 272, trade@dorwest.com or www.dorwest.com

July 2012 

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Mars Fishcare Mars Fishcare currently has some special offers on the Pondcare food and treatment ranges, including the top selling lines Algae Cure and goldfish pond food. Mars Fishcare says its food range is the first environmentally-sustainable pond food on the market, 100 per cent complete and contains a prebiotic and garlic to keep fish in the best of health. The treatment range contains natural active ingredients, making the products safe for fish, pets and wildlife. Point of sale materials, including shelf-edges, product strips, clip strings, signage and measuring cups, are also available to support the products when in store. Information: 01932 784 366 (quote Pet Gazette pondcare)

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Comment

Summer has arrived and Michael Bellingham

Hot spots A

t the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, we are seeing a growing number of members and ever-increasing product ranges. There is no doubt that this presents pet retailers with a challenge when it comes to display. Over the summer months, there are additional challenges with normal buying patterns interrupted by holidays. Retailers need to think about innovative ways of meeting the demand of customers, both new and old.

Pets on holiday... working with your community Summer is a time when families go away with or without their pets. Those who leave their pets need to find responsible carers. Pet retailers can help by displaying educational material at the start of the summer. You could work in conjunction with local pet sitters, kennels and veterinary practices to ensure you offer good advice and contacts. There is a lot of useful information to hand over to a pet carer so remind customers to make a note of emergency contacts including their vet, insurance company, microchip provider and medical history in addition to general care. If they want to keep this in one place, customers can create

has some seasonal tips for retailers looking to effectively merchandise their products and build stronger relationships with customers

a file or look at providers who produce handy personalised ‘pet cards’ – a few useful websites are listed at the foot of this article. Families who take their pet on holiday in the UK will also need advice. They may be looking to bulk buy food, so ensure you have plenty in store. You can also suggest portable travel bowls, water dispensers or food containers, and for those travelling abroad, you can check they know about the PETS scheme.

‘essentials’ could encourage new and old customers into your store. Remember to promote responsible ownership and have some educational leaflets ready to give to new owners, in addition to your own top tips. It’s advisable to liaise with your local vet for advice on vaccines, taking a more proactive approach to preventative healthcare. Many websites, including our own, have top tips for new owners.

Pets on holiday... theme your displays

Kids on holiday.... are you and your customers prepared?

Window displays are usually the first thing a customer sees and should be used to draw customers into your store, as well as demonstrating the goods you have on offer. In addition to displaying all of the portable products, highlight the importance of giving your pets plenty of water as well as promoting outdoor toys – perhaps you sell luggage for pets too! Remember to pop smaller items at POS such as smaller toys and healthy treats.

Some websites have great resources for families and children over the holidays. The PFMA recently helped launch www.peteducationresources.co.uk with 19 of the UK’s animal welfare charities. Why not print off some fun colouring-in pictures or quizzes to entertain children on those long journeys and put them at POS for customers? There is also a search facility on the website so that you could highlight animal-themed places to visit near your shop!

New owners – not on holiday! Expecting better weather over the summer months, some families take on a new or additional puppy, so displaying some

Useful contacts www.dogfriendly.co.uk – for great places to stay with pets www.direct.gov.uk – for more information on the PETS scheme and taking pets abroad www.bva-awf.org.uk – for a guide to diseases abroad www.petnet360.co.uk – for your Pet’s Emergency Card information www.peteducationresources.co.uk – for resources and places to visit for families The PFMA (www.pfma.org.uk), the Kennel Club (www.thekennelclub.org.uk) and most rehoming centres and charity websites also have great advice for new owners. July 2012 

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

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PET GAZETTE

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Fleas and ticks

Scratching the surface Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH tackles the subject of fleas and ticks, from their transmission and treatment to the problems they can cause in household pets

July 2012 

T

he dreaded flea is the bane of animals thousands of times its size. Although usually thought of as merely an irritating passenger on our pets, its capacity for the spread of disease should not be overlooked. The bubonic plague, which killed in the region of 100 million people, was caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. This microbe usually lives on rodents but was transmitted to and between people by fleas. It is this ability to transmit agents of disease that makes fleas, and as we will see later, ticks, such important parasites. Myxomatosis in rabbits and tapeworm and infectious anaemia in dogs and cats are all spread by fleas. Despite the importance of these conditions by far their greatest notoriety is

as agents of allergic skin disease. Flea-allergic dermatitis is the single biggest cause of skin disease in dogs. The typical flea allergic dog will show signs along its back with hair loss and broken hairs and a very marked hind leg itch response when you scratch this area. However, most atopic dogs will also have flea allergies so their involvement should not be ruled out on appearance alone. It is almost the only cause of pruritic (itchy) skin disease in cats. Affected cats typically display a miliary dermatitis (many tiny scabs giving the skin a rough feel and loss of hair) usually along their back. Many other common feline conditions are also attributed to flea allergies, including the granulomatous lesions often referred to as rodent ulcers found on cats’ lips, face or

PET GAZETTE


Fleas and ticks

front feet, asthma and colitis. As the almost exclusive cause of itching in cats, a famous veterinary dermatologist once advocated having a flea comb with a dead flea stuck to it at hand in the consulting room because most cat owners when advised that their cat is itching due to fleas will object strongly, arguing they have never seen a flea on their cat. This may well be the case because animals that are allergic to fleas will very rarely have very many fleas as they groom fastidiously to remove them. Allergic animals only need an occasional bite to set off an intense itch reaction, with cats in particular capable of self-mutilation far in excess of what one would expect. The allergy is directed towards components of the flea’s saliva, which it injects into the animal

PET GAZETTE

to allow easier feeding. The advice to any owner with an itchy cat or dog is rigorous flea control with a suitable veterinary spot-on preparation at the recommended intervals. If after a few weeks of treatment the itching continues then further veterinary investigations can be undertaken. All animals in the household should be treated and ideally a household spray should be used in the areas most frequented. This is because the fleas on the animal only represent the tip of the iceberg – over 90 per cent of the flea population exists as immature stages in bedding, sofas, carpets or grooves in the floorboards. These immature stages feed off skin dander and the droppings of the adults, which consist of partially digested blood. Bedding should be washed regularly at 60°C to kill any larvae and all soft furnishings or carpets should be vacuumed thoroughly to keep larval populations to a minimum. Although fleas will bite humans they tend to be species-specific, only breeding on their chosen host species. In the UK however, most of the fleas on dogs are actually cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis. Ticks on the other hand are not fussy. They wait around in rough pastures on top of grasses for any passing animal. Ticks have a number of stages in their life cycle and need a blood meal at each stage to moult into the next stage. On hatching, the larvae search out a small mammal or bird and feed for a few days before dropping off to moult into the nymph stage. These then seek another host and feed again and drop off to moult into the adult stage. The adult females are usually the ones spotted by animal owners as they fill with blood to the size and colour of a marrow fat pea. I have regularly been asked to examine a ‘tumour’ that has suddenly appeared on a dog’s head, only to inform the relieved client that it was only a tick. “Only a tick” may not be the correct expression in this case, as some of the tick-borne diseases such as Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis that are common on continental Europe are moving northwards due to increasing temperatures. One tick species, Dermacentor reticulatus, which is the intermediate host for Babesia canis on the continent, is now present along the south coast of the UK. The Babesia organism itself is not present here yet but there are a few cases of the disease reported here every year, usually from dogs returning from the continent. Although the requirement for tick treatment has been

removed from the Pet Travel Scheme since 1 January 2012, it is still very important for all dogs going to the continent to be treated before they go and to ensure adequate control is maintained while abroad. The most common tick-borne disease in the UK is Lyme disease. This can affect many species including people and pets. Usually the area of the tick bite develops into a bull’s eye lesion, with red rings of inflammation spreading out from the bite, and though this is easy to spot in people, it is usually impossible in animals. In people symptoms are usually flu-like, including lethargy, malaise, muscle pain, fever and arthritis affecting a number of joints. There are over 500 human cases diagnosed in the UK annually, but as it is a difficult disease to spot some estimates put it at closer to four times that number. Cats rarely show clinical signs but affected dogs and horses often present with a shifting lameness as the arthritis moves from joint to joint. The associated lymph nodes will often be enlarged. This is definitely a case of prevention is better than cure, and even though ticks are much more common on upland and rough sheep pastures, they also occur in woods, parks and gardens, so during the summer and autumn make sure dogs are protected. Caution is required when removing ticks as the mouth parts can remain and become infected. There is a tick removal tool which makes the job easier for larger ticks. Often a spray of Frontline or one of the many geranium oil products directly onto the tick is the easiest way and tricks such as lighters and matches should be avoided for obvious reasons! When it comes to the prevention of fleas and ticks your customers should ask their vet for advice on the various spot-on products available, as all will prevent fleas but not all work for ticks. Also different products are more suitable for different situations, such as dogs that spend a lot of time in the water. Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH is one of the UK’s leading veterinary herbalists. Adopting an integrative approach to animal health using herbs and drugs side-by-side, he has a special interest in chronic inflammatory conditions and ageing. He provides consultancy services to the pet food and supplement industries, has developed herbal products for both retail and veterinary use, is a tutor at Integrate CPD and is a founding member and past president of the British Association of Veterinary Herbalists. He may be contacted on vetadvice@phytoforce.ie

Supplier Listing Dorwest Herbs: www.dorwest.com Natural Dogs: www.naturaldogs.co.uk Nurtured Pet Products: www.nurturedpets.co.uk Phytoforce: www.phytoforce.ie July 2012

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Kittens

New arrivals Second only to the dog, the cat will always prove popular with pet owners. Less demanding than dogs and inherently more independent, Naida Ally discovers that they also provide a long-term source of revenue from the moment they arrive in their new home

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n figures released by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association this year, 19 per cent of households contain at least one cat, up from 18 per cent in 2011. Out of the 67 million pets owned nationwide, eight million of these are of the feline variety. Once the decision to get a kitten has been made, there are all sorts of preparations and adjustments to undertake just before and during the first few months of its arrival. As a retailer, it’s your job to fill in the blanks and equip customers with the tools and advice necessary to make the transition a smooth one. To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of things for the customer to consider to settle-in the new arrival.

1) Before the arrival In preparation for a new kitten, there are certain things that need to be purchased, such as a pet carrier, food and water bowls, food, litter tray and litter, bed and bedding, kitten toys and a grooming comb. To begin with, it is advisable to feed the kitten the same food it has been fed previously. Gudi Stuttard of Royal Canin advises: “Find out

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beforehand what diet the kitten is being fed and make sure your customer has some of the same food ready to keep things consistent during the upheaval of moving homes. The kitten’s diet can be changed later but wait until it is settled in, ensuring a gradual transition.” Timing is another important factor: “Your customer should think carefully about when to bring the kitten home, choosing a time when the house will be quiet and calm and when they can be around to make sure things run smoothly.”

2) Kitten-proofing Kittens are naturally inquisitive and in time will set about exploring every corner of their new home. Until the kitten is neutered and vaccinated, it should not be allowed to venture outside. In the first few days or weeks, it is strongly recommended to restrict its access to a small area of the house. Gudi says: “A quiet area of the house should be chosen for the kitten’s first few days, and it should be provided with everything it needs nearby – food, water, bed, litter tray and toys. It will need plenty of places to hide at first too. The kitten should be introduced to the

new area by placing the cat carrier on the floor with the door open, allowing it to come out and investigate in its own time.” All bins should be covered, especially those in the kitchen or bathroom. Doors to the washing machine, dishwasher, tumble-dryer, fridge and oven should be closed and the toilet seat kept down. Household chemicals should be stored away securely and cable protectors should be used on any exposed wires to chew-proof. Many plants are toxic to cats so to be on the safe side, all houseplants or cut flowers should be kept out of reach.

3) Introducing a new kitten to other cats in the home As a species, cats do not need to be social creatures. Whereas dogs, which are packorientated, enjoy the company, cats function without a social structure around them. For this reason, cats cannot be forced to like each other. Some will accept a new arrival easily but others will not. Although you can’t dictate how they’ll react to each other, there are things that will make the ingratiation easier. Gudi advises: “When introducing a cat to the new kitten, ensure both have the opportunity to escape or hide. Some cats may bond with a new kitten, but in most cases owners have to accept that they will never be friends. Trying too hard to encourage a cat to get on with the new kitten is likely to cause them stress. However, cats can tolerate each other quite happily as long as they are able to keep out of each other’s way, and have separate feeding areas and litter trays, for example.” A kitten is less of a threat to a resident cat because it is still sexually immature. It is also better to get a kitten of the opposite sex to the resident cat, as this will minimise competition. Smell is the most important

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Kittens

of a cat’s senses, so integrating a new kitten’s scent into the home before introducing them can help familiarise a resident cat with the newcomer. To do this, owners can stroke each cat without washing their hands and mix scents in this way, or also gather scents from around the cat’s head area by gently stroking it with a soft cloth and dabbing it around the home and furniture to mix and spread scents. It can be useful to delay letting cats meet for a few days or even a week. During this time they should be kept in separate rooms, allowing each to investigate the other’s room and bed without actually meeting.

4) Introducing the dog Although frequently portrayed as enemies, it is often a great deal easier to introduce a new cat to a dog than to another cat. Despite an initial wariness, they do not view each other as direct competition so can actually get on very well. Gudi says: “If your customer has a dog, it should be introduced to the new kitten gradually and under supervision. The dog should be restrained at first and given lots of praise for calm behaviour. The kitten should have plenty of escape routes and safe places to stay out of the dog’s reach.”

their vet can check for the presence of a microchip. If the kitten is not microchipped, it is a quick and easy procedure that can be performed by a vet and usually costs between £20 and £30. This is often done at the same time as neutering and is definitely recommended before letting the kitten outside for the first time.”

6) The great outdoors “Giving cats free access to the outdoors enables them to engage in a full range of instinctive behaviours, such as hunting. This freedom makes a significant contribution to their overall wellbeing and, conversely, cats that are denied access to the outdoors can

5) Microchipping Judith Bank, marketing manager at SureFlap Ltd, explains: “If customers get a kitten from an animal shelter, it will probably already be microchipped, but if they are unsure,

develop behavioural problems, and in some cases, become overweight due to lack of exercise,” says Judith. Before letting a kitten outside for the first time, Judith advises vaccinating (usually at around nine to 12 weeks) and neutering – Cats Protection recommends neutering from the age of four months. The kitten should also be allowed to settle in the home for at least two to three weeks before being let outside. Letting a kitten out before a mealtime is also a good way to ensure they will not stay out for too long or stray too far.

7) Visiting a vet The PDSA advises: “When an owner gets a new cat, it should be registered with a local veterinary practice straight away. An appointment for a check-up should be made as soon as possible. The vet can then devise a care programme for the cat. Owners can write a list of the questions they want to ask, so everything can be covered.” There are two big categories of potential health risks for kittens. The first category is parasites, which can either be internal, such as worms, or external, such as fleas. The other category is infectious diseases. These are transmitted between cats by sneezing, coughing, cat fights, maternal transfer, and via people or inanimate objects. These include Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Panleukopeni (often called Distemper) and upper respiratory infections.

On the shelf A selection of key products to help new owners cater for their kitten’s needs

Burns Pet Nutrition advises: “Kittens should be introduced to different textures of food when young so they do not grow up to become fussy adults. Owners may therefore like to offer occasional pieces of cooked meat or fish as well as soaking the dry food.” The company offers its own Duck and Rice kitten food (available in 500 gram packs), which is a highly digestible food with controlled levels of protein and fat to ensure a healthy, steady rate of growth. It is a small kibble, which can be easily managed by young kittens and can be fed to them from three to six weeks old. The company recommends: “If the kitten has already been weaned on to another brand of food then Burns should be gradually introduced over five to 10 days. Once the kitten reaches six months old, a change to one of the adult Burns varieties is recommended – these are available in Chicken and Brown Rice or Ocean Fish.”

To ensure that kittens get a good start in life, a quality, specially-formulated food can provide all of the nutrients they need. Burgess Pet Care has created Supacat Kitten Rich in Chicken, which can help nurture kittens and growing cats. The company explains: “We know that the needs of kittens are special and that these little fluff balls need a great deal of care as their bodies develop.” Supacat Kitten Rich contains taurine; a balanced blend of vitamins and minerals; natural antioxidants for developing immune systems; maize gluten, a great source of protein; and pre-biotics for healthy digestion. Once the kitten reaches a year old it can then be introduced to one of the Supacat adult products, which will not only aid general health and wellbeing but also reduce plaque and tartar build-up, as the foods in the adult and mature recipes are coated with STAY-Clean, which naturally cleans cats’ teeth as they eat.

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Kittens

As Gudi Stuttard of Royal Canin explained, cats are not social creatures and do not readily accept other cats. Not only can it prove difficult to introduce a kitten to other cats in the home, it may also be necessary to protect the kitten from unexpected intruders entering via the cat flap. One of the simplest ways to do this is to install a cat flap which only the resident cat can use, such as the SureFlap, the innovative product developed by British scientist Dr Nick Hill, this works by reading the microchip in the cat’s neck. As the cat flap works in conjunction with the microchip, it also encourages pet owners to get their pets identified, which many in the trade consider an essential part of pet ownership. Judith Bank, marketing manager for SureFlap, says: “Many of our customers have changed from an ordinary or magnetic-operated cat flap because they have had some cause for concern. This may have been unacceptable behaviour from a neighbour’s cat, the cost of feeding interlopers or a stressful situation for a timid pet. Restricting access to the home is the best way to tackle all of these problems and we have many testimonies from satisfied owners.”

Supplier listing Burgess Pet Care: www.burgesspetcare.co.uk Burns Pet Nutrition: www.burnspet.co.uk KONG: www.kongcompany.com SureFlap: www.sureflap.co.uk Taste of the Wild: www.tasteofthewildpetfood.com

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Whatever the species – child, puppy or kitten – play is an important part of early development both physically and mentally. Studies show that pets that play early in life not only retain that playfulness as they get older, but also are less likely to develop behavioural problems. The KONG Company has a large range of interactive catnip toys to entice most kittens and cats to play. The company says: “House cats in particular will benefit from active play – it encourages natural instincts such as stalking and hunting and provides fun exercise.” KONG cat and kitten products provide a variety of shapes, colours, sounds and textures to keep felines of all ages interested and active. The KONG Cat Wobbler is a new reward-based treat and meal dispenser with a catnip-filled tail, providing interactive exercise, while cats stalk and hunt their prey. When play is over, owners can brush or massage with a ZoomGroom to calm and relax kittens and cats.

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Pet food

Food for thought

M from V-dog discusses the ethics behind pet food and also highlights the surprising health benefits of going veggie Chris Winchester

July 2012 

arket research has shown that dog food sales are growing, reaching around £1.4 billion in 2011 – a four per cent growth – which, in a difficult economic situation, shows how important dogs are to the nation. Within that market, vegetarian pet foods make up a small proportion, but with a move towards more ethical buying in general, this sector has the potential for growth. The Food Standards Agency reports that approximately three per cent of the UK’s population are completely vegetarian. The UK dog population currently stands at around eight million, but if three per cent of that dog population is owned by vegetarians, that means that around 240,000 dogs could benefit from a complete vegetarian pet food. Just as vegetarian owners cite different motivations for their dietary choices, so dogs are given vegetarian foods for various reasons. For many vegans and vegetarians, the chief motive is purely ethical. Concerns about the impact of commercial, large-scale meat production on natural resources is key, coupled with concern for animal welfare during life and treatment at slaughterhouses. For others, simply avoiding killing animals is important. It was previously the case that vegans and vegetarians would have to put up with feeding meat products to their pets, or they would have to create their own vegetarian diets at home, risking giving an unbalanced and

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Pet food

potentially unhealthy diet. Now, complete vegetarian pet foods are available, which provide a balanced meat-free option for those who have ethical concerns about the meat industry. American vegan veterinarian Dr Armaiti May is a leading proponent of vegan and vegetarian diets for dogs, and says: “Many speculate that the increase in incidences of cancers, kidney failure and other degenerative diseases in our companion animals may be due to the harmful ingredients in poor quality, meat-based pet foods. This has led people to feed alternative diets.” This may indeed be speculation, but there is no denying that some ingredients in pet foods can cause skin and dietary sensitivities and allergies. For some, an elimination diet can show that in actual fact, dogs could be allergic to the meat content of their diet – for some it is poultry, for others it is beef. In these cases switching to a fish-based food could work, but a vegetarian diet offers an excellent option, removing the meat proteins altogether. With all of the nutrition from cereals and vegetables, the diets are balanced – they have to be to meet regulatory guidelines – and offer an alternative that dog owners may not have considered. As meat and meat by-products are not included in vegetarian foods, all the nutrition a dog needs must be provided by alternative sources. A PFMA report, Cereals in Pet Food, Jan 2011, explains that, “generally cereals are used as a source of energy for dogs and cats, but they also provide a significant proportion of the protein to the total diet. Cereals such as maize, barley and sorghum can be used in the formulation of pet food to provide energy.” Wheat is used to provide carbohydrate for energy and soya is used to provide protein, effectively replacing meat in these foods. A mixture of vegetables and fortification with vitamins and minerals, ensures all of the essential nutrients are present. Removing the meat proteins can have a positive effect on dogs prone to skin conditions. Dr May says: “In my clinical practice one of the most common ailments I diagnose and treat in dogs is skin allergies. Most of the time a dog has a food allergy it is to a meat protein such as beef,

chicken, or one of the other common meat sources. Vegetarian diets may bring these food-allergic dogs relief from their skin allergies.” The choice of vegetarian diets is small, especially compared to the vast choice of mainstream dog food, however it is an option that many consumers miss out on, as they are unaware that a dog can be completely healthy, and in fact thrive, on a vegetarian diet. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat a mixture of meat, cereals and vegetables, but if meat is not an option, due to ethical or health reasons – or if owners just fancy trying their dogs on something different – then a vegetarian diet could be the way forward. With growing concerns over the amount of processed ingredients, colouring and preservatives in some dog foods, it is worth considering a high quality meat-free diet instead. As consumers grow ever more savvy and begin to search for a life with a lower environmental impact, vegetarian pet foods are set to grow in popularity. Find out more about feeding vegetarian diets to your dog at www.v-dog.co.uk or call 01953 714 648.

On the shelf With many owners opting to feed meatless diets to their pets for health or ethical reasons, the range of vegetarian foods and treats on the market is slowly beginning to expand

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here are very few companies in the pet sector specialising in the supply of vegetarian products but this is precisely what Vegeco Ltd decided it would do in 2003. Already supplying products to the consumer sector, the company became involved with vegetarian pet foods by accident, as Damian Eadie from Vegeco explains: “We had no prior involvement with the pet industry. While researching products we came across a vegetarian dog food listed with a health food wholesaler. Initially we thought it seemed like a very odd idea but over the following days we kept thinking about it and how there must be a demand for such products, and that we could probably improve the supply to customers.” Since the introduction of the first vegetarian pet foods, the company has seen greater demand both domestically and internationally. Vegeco now imports and distributes vegetarian pet food in the UK and exports globally to 15 countries including those in Europe and as far away as the US, India and Hong Kong. 

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Pet food

Damian believes the internet has made it far easier for people to track down products that were previously hard to find. He also adds: “With the advent of internet awareness of the issues surrounding vegetarianism growing, more and more people are becoming concerned about what is in their dogs’ food and where it came from.” The company has expanded the range of products to cater for what it believes is a growing niche market. The company sells wellestablished brands such as V-dog (previously Happidog) and Wafcol vegetarian. Newer brands include Yarrah, Ami and Benevo, the latter being the company’s fastest selling product for cats and dogs. Damian explains that the reasons owners choose vegetarian diets for their pets is varied. He says: “Forget any ideas you have of a treehugging hippy living in a caravan; the consumers for these products are from every walk of life – media executives, gardeners, doctors, housewives, office workers and from every religion.” Although ethical vegetarians remain a key group for the company, Damian says they were surprised by the interest from Hindus and Jains. He explains: “For them, meat is taboo in their faith so they do not want it in their homes, which is tricky if they decide they want a dog in the family.” He was also surprised by the interest from owners with dogs who had meat protein sensitivities. He says: “There are a number of people who are not vegetarians themselves but select a meat-free diet for their dog to alleviate the symptoms brought on by other foods.” Damian also believes that there are many retailers who are missing out on a lucrative source of trade by ignoring these foods, with as many as one in 20 customers a vegetarian or vegan. He also says there is still a tendency among retailers to avoid stocking the foods due to a lack of demand and consequently fail to build up any regular buyers. He concludes: “The customers who buy such products are very loyal and you could have their business for the rest of their dogs’ life. You are not just supplying dog food, you are solving a problem for them, and this should lead to regular, repeat sales.” Approved by the Vegetarian and Vegan Societies, V-dog was first introduced in 1980 and offers the ethical alternative to standard pet food. There are three products to choose from: Traditional Flakes use quality cereals and vegetable proteins in a muesli style mix; Crunchy Nuggets include organic herbs from the Mediterranean basin; and V-dog Wheat Gluten Free Mixer, is an ideal accompaniment to quality wet foods and suitable for dogs with sensitive digestion or food allergies. Burns Pet Nutrition has built up a reputation not just for its quality range of pet foods but also its high ethical standards. The Penlan Farm Egg, Brown Rice & Vegetables for dogs has recently been approved by the Vegetarian Society and has been made from sustainable, ethical sources. The company says: “Locally produced food, high standards of animal welfare, sustainable farming methods and concern for the environment and wildlife are the principles which underpin the production of the ingredients.” Suitable for all breeds, this complete moist dog food contains free-range egg, organic brown rice, seasonal vegetables, minerals and vitamins. The company also offers a range of Carrot Treats, which can be used to reward dogs watching their weight or following a vegetarian diet. Natural Pet Products Ltd is a niche wholesaler of holistic pet products for dogs and cats, including a range of treats and snacks suitable for vegetarian dogs. Dr Chew is a 100 per cent natural, healthy dog chew made from cooked, sliced, air-dried sweet potato. It is rich in beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals; high in dietary fibre; fat-free; and contains no animal by-products or preservatives. Natural Pet Products also supplies the Masterpet range of dog chews in a range of different shapes and sizes, which are specifically designed to help keep dogs’ teeth and gums healthy. The Vegetarian Crocodile Chews are covered in knobbly scales to help clean the teeth when chewed and are available in the following flavours: natural, greens, paprika and calcium.

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Supplier listing Burns Pet Nutrition: www.burnspet.co.uk Natural Pet Products: www.naturalpetproductsltd.com V-dog: www.v-dog.com Vegeco Ltd: www.vegeco.net PET GAZETTE


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Dog exercise

Walk the line BVetMed MRCVS, veterinary consultant for Petsafe, discusses the importance of exercise for dogs

David Chamberlain

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ogs and humans have a particular characteristic in common: they are both inquisitive. If dogs or humans were put on a desert island they would both actively explore their environment. Both would be looking for something that may benefit them – anything from shelter, food and water, to companionship or an escape route. Fundamentally, this is why dogs like to go for a walk. Of course, unlike humans, dogs don’t think “I must exercise to keep fit” they see a walk as an opportunity to explore their environment, re-encounter familiar items or places, or to make new discoveries. Dogs enjoy walks – they don’t have the pained expression of joggers! It is this drive to explore that has made wild canidae, like the fox, so successful and their domestic distant canine cousins share this innate motivation. Humans, too, constantly seek to explore and discover in the hope of unearthing new opportunities and benefits. Exercise has psychological benefits for dogs just as much as, if not more than, for humans; consequently dogs that are not adequately exercised are emotionally unfulfilled. They miss out on both the shortterm feel good factor of an exercise-induced endorphin release and, more importantly, the long-term psychological benefits. Owners should also enrich their home environment and provide dogs with human company. Dogs that are inadequately exercised, have a sterile home environment and are in danger of suffering serious psychological stress. If this is not rectified, they become subject to lasting distress. Obedient and well-trained dogs will inevitably enjoy far more freedom than untrustworthy and disobedient dogs. Reliable training, especially recall, will enable a dog to enjoy a greatly enhanced quality of life and so training dogs in reliable recall should be every owner’s priority. Retailers must therefore be familiar with training aids, which can assist with recall, including long lines that partner well with harnesses to provide some security and control, tasty treats for rewards, throw and catch/chase toys to provide a

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focus for the dog’s attention on walks, and whistles and electronic collars for gaining and maintaining a dog’s attention in the face of distractions. It is an offence for a dog to be out of control in a public place, so if a dog will not reliably recall to an owner it must be restrained using a lead and collar/harness. Unfortunately this will reduce the dog’s opportunity to explore, compromising its enjoyment of exercise and quality of life. Clicker training is a highly effective method of teaching that can help improve a dog’s recall, as good behaviour is marked with the sound of a short ‘click’ when the dog is doing the right thing, which can be followed by an action of reward. Potential dog owners must consequently think very carefully about whether they have the time, energy or opportunity to provide sufficient training and exercise for a dog. If owners cannot commit to provide for the exercise requirements of their considered breed dog, they should not have a dog as a pet. Of course, there are other benefits to exercise for dogs, such as cardiovascular fitness, weight regulation, reduced risk of diabetes mellitus and so on. As far as the dog is concerned these are unrecognised benefits and, in truth, the human companion who is accompanying the dog will recognise these as more of a benefit through reduced vet’s bills and the improvement of their own physical fitness and health. It is important, though, to mention a few precautions regarding dogs’ exercise…

Over-exercise Dogs have no concept of future; they live for the now. They don’t know that if they over-exercise today, then tomorrow they will suffer the consequences in the form of aching joints and stiff muscles. Many dogs will just keep going because exercise brings with it constant rewards of new places to discover and explore.

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Dog exercise

Owners, then, have a responsibility to provide exercise of an appropriate type, intensity and duration for their dog with consideration of its health and fitness status. We would not consider running a half marathon without months of gradually escalating training and we should not expect our dogs to do the same. Working breeds particularly don’t have an ‘off switch’ and everything they do is at 100 per cent, so owners and trainers need to manage their dogs’ exercise. I always tell owners to set themselves an exercise target that they want to achieve for themselves and their dog, that they can commit to on a daily basis. Starting from a base line of nothing, they should gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercise over a month until they hit their target and then, crucially, maintain it. The route of a walk can be varied to provide new areas to explore, but the distance and speed should be kept the same. Throwing catch/chase toys for a dog can be very intense exercise, with rapid acceleration and deceleration, twists and turns, jumps and catches. This is akin to a game of squash for humans and consequently the risk of exercise-induced injury is high. A dog should have a good level of fitness before it engages in this type of exercise and owners must make sure their dogs’ muscles are ‘warmed up’ before they start these games. Dogs can do a huge amount of exercise chasing a toy while their owners do very little, so owners must count the number of throws, again starting at a base line of nothing, building up gradually over a month until they achieve a target level that is appropriate for their dog. Swimming is great exercise (for those dogs that enjoy it) because it is non-weight-bearing, so it strengthens muscles, while reducing stress on joints. It is excellent for breeds of dog that are prone to joint problems, or for dogs that have existing osteoarthritis. Swimming is particularly exhausting and needs to be built up gradually to a maximum of just five minutes a day. Care must be taken to avoid hazards such as weirs, rip tides, drinking sea water and encountering underwater obstacles that could snag dogs with full coats. Owners whose dogs suffer with cardio-respiratory conditions must check with their vets to see if swimming is appropriate exercise for their pet. Some dogs could benefit from using buoyancy aids, for example.

A common mistake is to over-exercise a dog after it has had a period of enforced inactivity, usually because it has been at a boarding kennel, while the owners have been away on holiday. Unfortunately, after two weeks in kennels, the dog has lost half of its fitness and the last thing it needs is an extra special walk, the consequence of which will be a very stiff dog the next day. So, when a dog returns from kennels, owners must work to regain their dogs’ fitness over a fortnight. If a dog has suffered a bout of illness or is recovering from an injury owners should ask their vets what type, duration and intensity of exercise is appropriate for their dog.

Heat Dogs do not cope at all well with heat, and those exercised in the heat of the day are at increased risk of heatstroke or sunstroke. Dogs have two approaches to keeping cool: through body functions like sweating and panting and through behaviour such as seeking shade and reduced activity. Panting can cause rapid dehydration, so if on a walk a dog’s panting becomes continuous, the owner must immediately reduce the exercise intensity and seek shade and water, both to drink and to soak the dog to help it cool off. Dogs will also seek out shady/cool spots if they become too warm, as the combination of a fur coat and reliance on one principal cooling mechanism is not sufficient to keep cool. Puppies, older dogs and breeds with pushed-in faces like boxers, bulldogs, pekes and pugs are more susceptible to heatstroke than other breeds. Owners can provide additional first aid at the early stages of heatstroke in the form of ice packs placed on the groin area (taking care to avoid ice burns), rubbing spirit-based alcohol on the paws, massaging the skin and extending and flexing limbs to optimise blood flow and help cool the core temperature.

Meals and treats Finally, exercise should be avoided for two hours after feeding, as this can contribute to gastric dilation/volvulus syndrome (GDV), when a dog’s stomach becomes filled with gas and rotates to close the entrance to the stomach. Occasionally a loop of duodenum passes over the top of the stomach, closing the exit from the stomach too. Eventually the stomach expands so much that the pressure interferes with the abdomen’s blood supply, causing shock and, if untreated, death.

Treat-based rewards should also be used very sparingly when training a dog that is engaged in high intensity exercise. Exercise presents a wonderful opportunity to bond with a dog, strengthening the pet-owner relationship, and providing a dog with psychological and physical benefits essential to its health, happiness and development. Taking heed of these precautions will ensure owners and their dogs enjoy outdoor play and exploration together for years.

Supplier Listing Barker and Barker: www.dogtraininginfo.co.uk Collarways: www.collarways.com Dapper: www.dapperdogsonline.com Gor Pets: www.gorpets.co.uk Kong: www.kongcompany.com Natural Pet Products: www.naturalpetproductsltd.com Pet Munchies: www.pet-munchies.com Petsafe: www.petsafe.net The Canny Company: www.cannyco.co.uk The Company of Animals: www.companyofanimals.co.uk PET GAZETTE

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Focus on

Focus on…

snacks and treats Now seen as an intrinsic part of a pet’s diet and subject to similar stringent regulations as pet foods, treats and snacks can not only be used as rewards but also as a complement to a healthy diet, as Naida Ally discovers

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nacks and treats, otherwise known as complementary pet foods, are legally defined as “pet food which has a high content of certain substances but which, by reason of its composition, is sufficient for a daily ration only if used in combination with other pet foods.” The market for dog treats in particular has increased over the last 10 years, where sales have doubled in the UK. In 2009, 55 tonnes of dog treats were sold, valued at £214 million. These foods are often products that contain nutrients but are not designed to contribute significantly to the energy content of the mixture. These include treats and snacks that are given to

strengthen the human-animal bond and as rewards during training; tablets and conditioners used to balance the diet when homemade foods are given; and products such as dog chews, that are not intended to contribute to the nutritional content of the daily ration, but are given to occupy the animal and can be eaten. As Lana Oliver, technical and regulatory affairs manager of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) explains, “there are numerous pieces of legislation that govern pet food, which includes snacks and treats or complementary pet food. For example, animal by-products, marketing and labelling, feed hygiene and

additives. There are also many industry codes that provide practical guides to manufacturers.” The pet food industry follows various codes of practice which support the regulations, and in some cases exceed legislative requirements. The European Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (FEDIAF) has a Guide to Good Practice for the Manufacture of Safe Pet Food, which pet food manufacturers follow in order to prevent potential difficulties in the production process and to meet their commitment to nutrition, safety and quality. At the end of last year, the FEDIAF Code of Good Labelling Practice for Pet Food was published, intended to be used as a practical guide to the labelling and marketing of pet food. The code covers three basic functions of product communication: consumer information on product use, control and enforcement, and retail and marketing. Labelling standards dictate that all information given on a pet food label is governed by the Trade Descriptions Act and therefore must be truthful and not misleading about the nature and quality of the product. The law also requires a statutory statement to be put on every label or package which must contain certain obligatory declarations. These must state whether the product is complete or complementary; the species for which the product is intended; and the directions for use. Precautions such as these serve to avoid potentially catastrophic situations, such as the recent inundation of complaints received by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, concerning chicken jerky snack products with ingredients from China. The FDA has logged 900 reports of illnesses and deaths from vets and concerned pet owners since November last year, when it issued warnings about health problems associated with the products known variously as chicken jerky strips, treats and nuggets. Here we offer a range of quality treats and snacks which provide a tasty snack or training incentive for dogs and cats.

Barker & Barker has been making healthy dog training treats and supplements in Britain for over 30 years. It believes that adding health-giving ingredients to treats is a great way of keeping a dog in top condition. The Barker & Barker treat range includes varieties with cranberry, blueberry and garlic – all super foods in their own right – while its veggie treat is a complete anti-oxidant with ingredients such as seaweed, fenugreek, alfalfa, garlic and yeast. The Tasty Topper range is an ideal mealtime treat for any dog, which can simply be sprinkled over any type of food, wet or dry. The supplement range is extensive and all Barker & Barker products are made in its own manufacturing plant in Dorset, where only natural, high quality, human-grade ingredients are used. The dog treats, toppers and supplements are stocked by professional dog trainers, dog clubs, pet shops and veterinary practices across the UK and contain no additives, flavourings or preservatives and come in a variety of sizes and flavours to suit all breeds. The company adds: “Dogs find the aroma and taste of these treats simply irresistible, and because of the size and low fat content, they are great for repeat rewarding during training. These treats won’t crumble in the pocket or tote bag.”

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Focus on

Pet Munchies is an exciting range of 100 per cent natural dog and cat treats, made from humangrade, quality real meat and fish. These premium healthy treats are naturally low in fat and are roasted in their own natural juices. There are no artificial additives, preservatives, colourings or flavours. The six dog varieties are Chicken Strips; Chicken Breast Fillets; Chicken Chips; Duck Breast Fillets; Beef Liver; and new Ocean White Fish, all packed in 100 gram pouches. The five cat varieties are Sushi; Cod; Chicken Breast Fillets; Duck Breast Fillet; and Liver with Chicken, packed in 50 gram pouches. Suitable for the health conscious pet – and both dogs and cats of all sizes – they are ideal for today’s consumers, who are demanding healthy snacks for their four-legged friends.

Hollings Ltd has recently launched another line to its popular carrier bag range – Cow Ears (10 packs). Cow ears are known to be a healthy treat for dogs and lower in fat than standard pig ears. The Cow Ears are a suitable treat option for dogs that may be sensitive to pork products, or may need to watch their weight. Along with the addition of the new product, Hollings is pleased to show customers its upgraded carrier bag. Meaty Bones (five packs), Cow Ears (10 packs) and Pig Ears (10 packs) all now come in bags with a resealable top and a gusset bottom base, enabling end users to reseal the bags and retailers to display the bags upright or on euro hooks. The Sausage (1 kilogramme); Tripe Sticks (500 gram); Jerky (500 gram); Pig Ear Strips (500 gram); and Pork Rolls (large 10 pack) will all follow in the new bag design later in the year.

“We know you’ll agree that a dog deserves the best in life,” says Betty Miller. “For this reason the Betty Miller team make only the best in treats and will never compromise on their quality. In our bakery we work hard to create wonderful recipes that will delight dogs. We strive to bring that great home-cooked smell and taste to all of our treats.” The company’s range includes the Good Dog Treats, which are wheat-glutenfree, oven-baked and available in two flavours in one bag – liver and carob (dog-friendly chocolate). The Chubby Dog Treats are also wheat-gluten-free and oven-baked using a special recipe, which the company says “is lower in calories than normal dog treats.” The Whiffy Dog treats have been formulated with peppermint and charcoal to help reduce bad breath and wind.

Many pet shops are now incorporating a natural dog food and treats section in their stores, as well as offering environmentally-friendly toys and bedding. These products appeal because pet owners are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, and at the same time want to offer their dogs the healthiest and safest products they can find. The provenance of the products customers buy for their dogs is important too – they want to know they are supporting like-minded companies such as Pure Dog. Its Stagbar is a natural chew, which was launched in 2010 and has gone on to be a ‘must-have’ among pet owners. The popular chews last a long time, are full of minerals and are natural teeth cleaners. They don’t splinter, don’t upset sensitive tummies, have a minimal fat level and are suitable for puppies. Stagbars are sourced from naturally-shed deer antler and the product has been awarded an Ethical Accreditation for the second year running. The company has recently moved to larger production premises and has ramped up supplies to meet the need of its growing retailer base. A range of eye-catching display material is available free of charge – counter top unit, floor standing display, window sticker and poster.

The ZiwiPeak range of dog and cat treats from New Zealand is “made from the same high quality raw meat and organs as the Cuisine range and contains a minimum of 95 per cent meat”. The treats share the same air-dried process as ZiwiPeak cuisine and the finished product looks like jerky or biltong. Dog treats are available in Beef, Venison or Lamb flavours (454 and 85 gram bags) and cat treats are available in Lamb Liver and Venison and Fish. ZiwiPeak also produces a range of oral healthcare chews including the popular Deer Shank Bones and Deer Hoofers. These shank bones are sourced from New Zealand deer raised on grass-fed pastures. “We have taken the shank bone, which is full of nutrients and marrow, and wrapped a beef oesophagus over the top. The bone is then naturally air-dried to retain its goodness in a shelf-stable form. They’re long-lasting and dogs go crazy for them,” says the company. Barker & Barker: 0845 519 8803 or www.dogtraininginfo.co.uk  •  Bern Pet Foods Ltd (ZiwiPeak): 01737 767 679 or www.bernpetfoods.co.uk Hollings: 01756 798 116  •  Natural Pet Products (Betty Miller): 01327 315 310 or www.bettymiller.com Pet Munchies: info@pet-munchies.com or www.pet-munchies.com  •  Pure Dog: 0845 272 5992 or info@puredog.co.uk

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Charity spotlight

Hot days, hot dogs Deana Selby,

editor of the Dogs Trust supporter magazine, offers some advice to help hounds beat the heat

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n between the rain showers, summer appears finally to be on its way and while the public is hoping the rest of it is a long, hot one, our four-legged friends might be thinking otherwise. Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has long campaigned to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving dogs in cars in hot weather and – as the mercury rises once again – would like to issue a reminder as to how dogs can suffer in the heat. Unlike their human counterparts, dogs cannot enjoy a refreshing iced beverage, nor can they appreciate the cool of a gentle breeze through light, summer outerwear. While enjoying fun in the sun, dogs can suffer from the same problems that humans, do including overexposure to the sun, overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. Despite the UK apparently being a nation of dog lovers, a survey released this month by Dogs Trust reveals that over 66 per cent of people have seen a dog locked in a car on a sunny day. With temperatures easily reaching over 40 degrees in some parked vehicles, dogs could die within minutes, so Dogs Trust has joined forces with the AA and the National Trust to target motorists and visitors with their ‘Hot Cars Can Kill Dogs’ campaign. They hope the campaign will help raise awareness of the issue and make owners think before they leave their dog alone in a car. The survey also reveals that 15 per cent of those questioned called the police when they saw a dog locked in the car, while 49 per cent tried to alert the driver and four per cent actually broke into the car to rescue the dog. Over the last year, AA patrols have rescued 832 pets locked in cars, and in recent years there have been several high profile cases of canine fatalities. The study also showed that 35 per cent of people surveyed had seen a dog locked in a car and decided to do nothing, but our advice is, if you see it, report it! Dogs Trust has some words of advice for you to pass onto dog owners this summer...

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• NEVER leave a dog in the car as this can rapidly become fatal – even in the shade temperatures in the car can still soar. • If travelling anywhere in a car with a dog make sure there is a supply of water and a suitable bowl. Plan stops on a journey and check travel reports to minimise the chances of sitting for a long time in queues of traffic. • Avoid travelling in the heat of the day. • Invest in some sun blinds for the car to further protect the dog from the sun. • Walk the dog in the morning and evening when the weather is cooler and make sure shady spots and drinking water are available. • Clip the fur of particularly hairy hounds and apply canine sun cream to areas most likely to burn such as the ears, nose and belly – pay particular attention to white dogs. Human sun cream can be toxic so a special pet version is recommended. • Be extra vigilant with older, short-nosed and overweight dogs as they are more prone to overheat. In a real emergency wet the dog thoroughly with cool water, never iced, and use a household fan to blow cool air over their head and body.  Seek urgent veterinary attention. • If the dog takes a dip in a lake or pool, it should be rinsed as soon as possible. Never allow the dog to drink from ponds as algae in the water can produce toxins which are fatal.

For further information on caring for a canine in hot weather, check out the Dogs Trust website at www.dogstrust.org.uk

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Canaries

Red canary © Simon’s Rodents

Going for a song Since they were first brought to Europe by Spanish sailors for their song, canaries have remained one of the more popular captive-bred birds and they still attract much interest in pet shops today. Here we look at some of the reasons why these colourful and inquisitive creatures remain a firm favourite among all bird keepers, from novice to experienced

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ccording to Sky Pet Products, “birds in the retail environment are often overlooked and many retailers forget the profits that go with a bird sale and that the consumer will frequently return for foods and accessories.” As a UK supplier of cages, accessories and animal housing, the company has seen first hand the interest in bird keeping among private breeders, clubs and associations. Birds in shops always create interest and there is a great deal of business generated around the common basic species often kept in the home. The canary or Serinus canaria still remains one of the most popular pet birds alongside the parrot and budgerigar. Supplier of birds to the pet trade, Simon’s Rodents says the reason for their continued appeal is their colourful attraction and song. The company is also seeing greater interest from new breeders coming into the hobby who, rather than looking to exhibit the birds, want to establish a small, breeding aviary. Its best-selling species are currently the clear yellow, followed by the intensive reds, the variegated, and then the whites. Adam Cook from Simon’s Rodents adds: “The greens are the cheapest and least desirable. We do, however, get frequent orders for the more specialist types such as glosters, razas, Irish fancy and hosos, which all have their own appeal to the individual.” Terry Kelly has been a top breeder, exhibitor and judge of Fife canaries since the 1980s and during this time has scooped major honours at many specialist shows as well as writing a bestselling book on the Fife. Developed by Scottish breeders in the 1950s, the Fife canary has been bred for its physical appearance rather than for its colour or song. Terry’s interest in them stems from their active and inquisitive nature – almost from the moment they are weaned – and their superb feather quality. He says: “The smaller breeds are easier to maintain in good health and to breed. The ideal is the Fife canary but also the Gloster Lizard and the New Colours. Avoid the Border, Yorkshire and Norwich as they are larger canary breeds, are rather sluggish and do not breed well.” He also stresses the importance of buying young birds, cautioning: “Some canary fanciers might be tempted to off-load their old stock to pet shops, which is unfair on potential purchasers who might want a pet or a pair from which to breed. Old birds are easy to identify by the scales on their feet and legs.” He also advises that any reputable breeder should be able to guarantee the sex of the birds. Whichever birds are chosen, most require relatively little upkeep as Terry explains: “Canaries can be bred very easily in a cage without needing a complicated set-up. They can withstand

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Canaries

Liberta

Northern Pet Products

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very cold temperatures and are generally free from diseases. Compared to most bird species, they are very inexpensive to buy and keep in good condition.” One of the key purchases for the consumer will be housing for the birds, which could either consist of an aviary or cage which can be kept indoors or outdoors and equipped with perches, drinkers and feeders. Sky Pet Products range for canaries includes a variety of cages suitable for single birds or smaller groups, with multi-level perches and feeding bowls. The company recommends smaller to mediumsized cages where the retailer can compete with ecommerce sellers on price, but also advises that any cage chosen should be of a good size to help keep the canary in good, healthy shape. The Pet Care Trust in its advice leaflet for trade industry professionals says: “A roomy cage is advisable and should be large enough for the canary to stretch its wings and fly from perch to perch.” It should also be furnished with perches of different diameters and one or two toys, which don’t overcrowd the space but can be rotated to provide mental stimulation and alleviate boredom. Liberta offers an extensive range of cages for a wide range of captive birds including canaries, from those which accommodate single birds and groups to the larger Viking, a flight cage on castors measuring 169 centimetres high by 70 centimetres wide. All of the cages come with perches and feeding bowls and they are oven-baked and powder coated in non-toxic paint. Metal cages are frequently a preferred option with bird keepers as they can be easily cleaned, and good hygiene is essential when looking after birds. The Verm-X range of animal healthcare products includes a formulation for caged birds, which the company describes as “an effective yet 100 per cent natural answer to intestinal hygiene issues, which is an important area to address when keeping any pet.” Following on from the success of the poultry formulations, the company responded to customer demand for a product for birds such as canaries, budgerigars and parrots with the introduction of Verm-X for caged birds. The company says: “We have had a lot of interest from a wide range of bird keepers, from the owners of one to two birds kept as pets, to serious breeders who keep many birds of different varieties.” As well as housing and accessories for mental stimulation, retailers can also stock a wide range of repeat purchases. Leading importer and distributor of bird and parrot supplies, Northern Pet Trade, has become an exclusive trade source for premium foods and treats such as Kaytee, Lafeber, Pretty Bird and ZuPreem as well as accessories from Zoo-Max, Superbird and Creative Foraging. The company admits that it has always been difficult to gauge a figure on the number of pet birds kept in the UK, but sales would seem to indicate that bird keeping still remains a popular hobby. The key range of products it recommends to retailers includes “good, clean seed, grit, mineral blocks and millet.” The company also stresses the importance of educating those customers looking to get into the hobby. Carl Pemberton of Northern Pets says: “Anyone taking on a pet including small or large birds and parrots should take time to read up on what it takes to care for them properly, ensuring they are as prepared as possible before the pet arrives.” This is a point affirmed by Terry Kelly who emphasises that they are a long-term commitment. He says: “A cock canary kept in a cage in the house could live for up to 10 years and they will continue singing throughout that period.” The dietary needs of the birds are relatively easy to meet. Terry explains: “Most domestic pets will stay in good health with very little effort needed. Canary seed and water are their basic 

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Canaries

Customer checklist

…… Cage and cage stand …… Water pot …… Perches …… Bath …… Toys …… Grit …… Mineral block …… Cage cover …… Seed pot and guard …… Book on canary care …… Food …… Sand/sand sheets …… Cuttlefish …… Pet-safe disinfectant Source: The Pet Care Trust Sky Pet Products

Verm-X

needs with a little green food such as broccoli and an occasional treat like a slice of apple.” Sky Pet Products also recommends regular access to bathing water as well as seeds, spray millet and fresh water. Over the years, champion breeders have developed their own specialist seed formulas and one company that has developed an extensive range of foods to meet all birds’ nutritional requirements is Haith’s. Although a basic canary diet does consist of seed and millet, the company says: “At certain times of the year and depending on the way they are housed, their diet must be changed to account for specific needs.” For example, birds in heated winter accommodation will require fewer fats than those kept in much colder conditions and similarly the demands on birds, which have greater flying space in aviaries, require more carbohydrates than those in cages. Birds can also benefit from supplements in their diet and leading specialist in exotic pet nutrition Vetark has developed a range of products with vitamins, minerals and probiotics to keep birds in peak condition. This includes the Avimix vitamin supplement with a high calcium content and enhanced levels of vitamin A, C and E, which are of particular benefit to breeding birds. The BSP, or Broad Spectrum, vitamin drops are particularly suited to softbills and can be used for medicating the water for birds which won’t accept vitamins any other way. The high potency means only a few drops are required and the company reports that many successful breeders are using the product to very good effect.

Supplier listing

Vetark

July 2012 

FW Whitchurch Ltd: www.fw-whitchurch.co.uk Liberta UK Ltd: www.libertauk.com Northern Pet Products: www.northernpettrade.com Simon’s Rodents: www.simonsrodents.co.uk Sky Pet Products: www.skypetproducts.com Verm-X: www.verm-x.com Vetark: www.vetark.co.uk PET GAZETTE


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Comment

Pond life In this, his second column, OATA chief executive Keith Davenport explains how the organisation is supporting the garden pond retailing trade

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f you knew there were 13 million households in the UK keen to buy what you sold, you might think that all your Christmasses had come at once! The results of a recent government survey revealed that 74 per cent of people asked either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they actively encourage wildlife to their gardens, with 18 per cent choosing to install a pond. That leaves 56 per cent (13 million) of the UK population who want to attract wildlife to their gardens missing out on the benefits of garden ponds and water features, and presenting a golden opportunity for you to capitalise on this additional revenue generator. Let’s first take a step back and review some of the facts about wildlife and gardening. Gardens cover one million acres in our towns and cities with three million of those containing ponds. They also offer stepping stones for species travelling between more natural habitats in the wild and are a positive treasure trove of biodiversity. In addition to providing an engaging and relaxing feature, outdoor ponds also create a haven for wildlife. Over the last three years, OATA has been supporting Pond Conservation’s Big Pond Dip, a national survey that assesses the health of garden and school ponds and finds out more about what makes these ponds tick. Anything that creates awareness and encourages customers to get involved in their ponds is not only a good thing for the supporting ecosystems, but also drives customers to you for additional information and products. A recent survey commissioned by OATA established that pond fish are the second most popular fish kept, behind tropical aquaria, and that the vast majority of pond owners kept at least one other type of fish. Unquestionably, the presence of a garden pond brings a sense of wellbeing and creates a wonderful and stimulating environment to be enjoyed all year round, if maintained properly. OATA has been championing the welfare, conservation and safety of garden ponds and addressing issues that affect the retailer. Over the past 20 years, OATA has saved the industry in excess of £100 million having removed the necessity for manufacturers to fit plugs onto outdoor pond equipment, prevented a ban on coldwater fish imports, avoided a ban and the need for individual certificate requirements to own sturgeon, and ensured that all fish medicines remained on-shelf. More recently, OATA has also been approached to make comments on an EU project looking at the energy efficiency of pond and aquarium pumps. As a retailer you want to be seen as knowledgeable and responsible, and to this end, OATA has provided a range of information tools to assist both you and your customers in making informed decisions.

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These include leaflets on pond construction, creating a wildlife pond, care sheets, posters and POS material, together with a new fishkeeping troubleshooter mobile application to help your customers identify the most commonly encountered fish-keeping problems. We also advise our members and retailers to be mindful of the issues surrounding over-stocking and pond safety, with any safeguarding measures offered for sale to be approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Of particular concern to the welfare of pond fish and wildlife conservation is the impact of aggressive common and invasive aquatic plant species. Launched earlier this year, Defra’s ‘Be Plant Wise’ campaign is designed to help you educate your customers about the problems caused by invasive aquatic plants and to promote better pond management. Although not yet banned from sale, we recommend that members and retailers do not sell the following aquatic plant species: • Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyleranunculoides) • Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllumaquaticum) • New Zealand Pigmyweed – also known as Australian Swamp stonecrop (Crassulahelmsii) • Water Fern (Azollafiliculoides) • Water Primrose (Ludwigiagrandiflora) The garden pond market opens up a myriad of add-on sales opportunities for the retailer, such as water-testing kits, filtration and pump units, feed and peripheral dry products. To conclude, I would like to offer some food for thought – if £10 was spent by each of those 13 million potential customers who wanted to install a garden pond, consider what difference that would make to the industry and your bottom line?

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.

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Creating a garden pond

Water world Lucy Bearman, aquatic

brand manager at Interpet, offers advice on setting up a garden pond so you can supply firsttime customers with everything they need to successfully create a watery haven for fish, plants and wildlife

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hen consumers are new to pond keeping, success is essential in order to ensure repeat business. Maintaining an interest in pond keeping, whether it is through a fascination with fish or an attraction to the aesthetic benefits, relies heavily on whether or not success is achieved early on. Water gardening has come a long way since its early beginnings in the exclusive landscape gardens of stately homes. Today, ponds and water features can make a welcome addition to any garden no matter how much space there is available. Creating a beautiful pond full of attractive plants and peaceful wildlife is a real aspiration for many consumers wanting to make their own sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A fish pond is no longer purely the domain of the committed aquarist. Increasing demand in the industry has resulted in ponds and associated maintenance equipment being developed

July 2012 

into easy to use consumer-friendly products. For a beginner in the aquatics world looking to enhance their garden, the prospect of setting up a pond can be fairly daunting. These days there are a number of options that can be suitable for beginners. It’s important that you ask the right questions to ensure you can advise customers on manageable ways they can achieve their ideal water garden. Establishing the aims of the consumer is crucial to be able to provide solutions to suit their individual needs. How much space is available? What’s the purpose of the pond? Have they seen any other water features that appeal? Where’s the best location within their garden? All of these factors will impact on the options available and ultimately, the long-term maintenance of the pond. As the industry has become much more consumer-friendly, there is now a range of products available that can suit a number of requirements. Traditionally, consumers may have been put off the idea of installing a concrete-based pond, believing it to be

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Creating a garden pond

a labour-intensive endeavour. To combat this, long lasting, pre-formed ponds that are easy to install can be a great option for those new to pond keeping. Once you know the space you have to work with, it can be relatively straightforward to advise on suitable products. Recent developments in pond products have dramatically changed the concept of water gardening. Many now have a ‘take away, plug and play’ approach; a one-box solution for customers or a complete kit to provide a complete life support system for fish and plants. These enable customers to get the pool up and running in a couple of hours. This is great news for the industry as it offers a practical option for the increasingly common time-starved customers. When the type of pond required has been established, the next thing to consider is maintenance. Filtration is essential to keep a pond fresh, clear and healthy, so selecting appropriate filtration equipment is a must for all pond owners. The development of all-in-one pond solutions has made a big difference to managing a pond. Low maintenance is often a key requirement for both the experienced and novice pond keeper, so stocking equipment that’s easy to

use is crucial. All-in-one systems to provide a quality filter, a pump to create movement, as well as lighting and fountain features are a great option for entry level ponds and work well to introduce beginners to the hobby with ease. Once the position, size, type of pond and filtration equipment have been determined, there’s a number of crossselling opportunities not to be forgotten. Accessories and treatments can offer the consumer added value to encourage them to make the most out of their new pond. Accessories such as hand and cover nets can serve a number of benefits. Cover nets can prove essential to protect fish from predators, as well as preventing unwanted items falling into the pond. Hand nets can be equally as useful for moving fish and removing unwanted foliage. If consumers are encouraged to take preventative measures – as well as uphold regular routines to look after their pond – they are more likely to reap the benefits the pond has to offer. Water treatments are important to those consumers wanting to nurture fish and other wildlife in their pond. For starters, pond keeping beginners need to be made aware that tap water contains chemicals that can

Blagdon has a wide range of easy-to-install pond equipment with products to suit every pond, garden and budget. Backed up by extreme reliability and value for money, Blagdon makes it easy for anyone to create and build rewarding ponds with products for every aspect from from construction to maintenance. For more information about Blagdon and pond keeping please visit www.interpet.co.uk

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be harmful for fish and other waterborne wildlife. To ensure a pond is able to become a living ecosystem any new water should be treated with products to ensure the right bacteria is present and the water is safe. Easy-to-use water testing kits can also be a good option when a customer purchases a new pond, and this is particularly important if they plan to keep fish. Common problems relating to fish keeping are often invisible and testing kits will enable customers to spot any potential issues relating to the nitrate cycle. It will also help to ensure they have the right levels of acidity and alkaline for a healthy pond. New pond care kits are readily available and include all that a new pond keeper needs to create a beautiful living ecosystem. Once the water levels are correct for sustaining life, maintenance is key. To keep customers coming back, ensure that the products you stock provide straightforward instructions to make the pond keepers’ lives much easier. In recent years, the pondkeeping market has opened up to entice new consumers into the hobby. If a customer has a positive experience from the beginning, you can be sure that they will be avid customers for a lifetime.

Supplier listing Affinity Living Feature Pools: www.affinitypools.co.uk Belton Fish Farm: www.beltonfishfarm.co.uk Blagdon: www.blagdonthepondmasters.co.uk Fareham Tropicals: www.wholesale-tropical-fish.co.uk JMC Aquatics: www.jmc-aquatics.co.uk Natures Grub: shop.naturesgrub.co.uk Tropical Marine Centre: www.tropicalmarinecentre.co.uk Waterlife Research Industries: www.waterlife.co.uk July 2012

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Classified

D I RE C T ORY AQUATIC LIVESTOCK

Advertise your Business Here. Call our sales team now on 01206 767 797

Pond sealer

Small Animal Livestock

AQUATICS

Advertise your Business Here. Call our sales team now on 01206 767 797


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Snakes

Royal python

Economy of scale A

Adult size

With the growing interest in reptiles there is now a wider range of outlets stocking snakes. As John R Berry from Big Reptile World discovers, there is an obligation on the part of every retailer to match the most suitable species with the most suitable owner and ensure they meet the animals’ specialised needs July 2012 

s a category of companion animal, snakes are fascinating to many and becoming more popular all the time. Just like any other type of animal, some make good pets and others don’t. So as a pet shop owner, it’s important to understand the species that are best to promote, and which should be recommended with caution. There are some simple guidelines to follow when considering the acquisition of a snake.

Origin By far the best option is to only offer captiveborn snakes acquired from a specialist snake breeder or live reptile distributor, as these are more likely to be problem-free. Wild-caught and farmed snakes can harbour both internal and external parasites. Selling a snake that turns out to have medical problems is not wise and will lose you any future business and a customer. To be safe it’s a good idea to establish a working relationship with an exotics or reptile vet and have them check your reptile livestock from time to time.

The biggest mistake most snake buyers make is to look at a cute little neonate or juvenile snake without considering the size of the adults. Most snake species grow relatively quickly and reach their adult size by around three years of age. They then continue to grow – but at a reduced rate for the rest of their lives – and although they might only require a small cage as a juvenile, you should always consider the adult size. Snakes require a cage with a length of at least two-thirds of their total body length, so if a snake will grow to an average of five feet in length, it requires as a minimum a cage of 3.5 feet long by 1.5 feet wide. This allows them to stretch out and this is also a minimal requirement – larger is better, especially for an adult snake.

Food Snakes are carnivores and eat other animals. There is currently no commercial canned food available for them, so feeding defrosted rodents is the only way to go. If this is an issue to the buyer, then they need to consider another type of pet.

PET GAZETTE


Snakes

Temperament

Intermediate

Like all other types of animals, some species of snakes have better temperaments than others. Some snakes are more placid and don’t seem to mind being handled while others are strictly ‘display animals only’ and don’t like to be handled.

To cater to more experienced reptile keepers, there are a whole host of suitable snakes you can offer. These would include both species that are slightly larger, yet still manageable, and those that require more skill to keep. Here I would recommend the following captive-bred species: Western Hognose snakes – these are small in size and easy to feed plus they are starting to become available in a great variety of colour morphs. Not suitable for children though as they can give a painful bite (although they are very tame and only bite when they are looking for food). Carpet pythons – average in size from five feet to around eight feet for adults. Juveniles can be a bit snappy, however with regular handling the adults make easy, calm pets. They should be provided with branches to climb on and they make great display animals. Boa constrictors – average size from four feet to around seven feet for adults. (Central American Boa constrictors are smaller than those from South America). Easy to feed and normally very tame to handle. They are also available in a wide range of colour morphs.

Suitable beginner snakes Taking the above into account, there are several clear winners when looking at beginner snakes. All of these are easy to acquire as captive-bred species. They all feed on defrosted and thawed rodents and all are robust snakes that become tame with regular handling (at least once or twice a week). Corn snakes – the ever popular choice. Can grow to around four to five feet in length. Tame to handle and considered ‘easy keepers’ with a good temperament. African house snakes – the African equivalent of the Corn snake, but they don’t grow as large. They readily take defrosted mice and although they can be difficult to find, they make great pets. Royal or Ball pythons – a small, hardy python species from West Africa. Males reach around three feet, while females can be a foot longer. Some can be picky feeders but the vast majority take defrosted rodents. Available in a huge selection of colour morphs. Most are very docile and make great pets. Sand boas – another small, docile and easy-to-keep species that readily feeds on mice. They require substrate that they can burrow into. Also available in multiple different colour morphs.

Not suitable as family pets

feet or longer, if it is not handled correctly and often, it will start to associate the opening of the cage with being fed. This can result in a snake which strikes out (expecting food) whenever the keeper opens the cage door. For most pet owners, this quickly becomes an issue and the snake suffers or is dumped at a reptile rescue centre. Because of this, my unsuitable as pets list includes: standard-sized Burmese and Indian pythons; reticulated pythons; African rock pythons; scrub or amethystine pythons; and all anacondas. Some species do have ‘dwarf ’ varieties and these don’t normally grow as large, even though they are classified as the same species. Of course, there are advanced keepers who enjoy keeping these species and have the knowledge and experience to work with them but this rules out the average family that is considering a reptile pet.

Care guides Care guides are of paramount importance when selling any species of reptile. You need to make sure you provide one to all buyers. Additionally, many specialist husbandry books are available for most of the species mentioned above and you should carry them in store for your own staff to read.

Although commonly offered and kept by many keepers, I don’t believe any of the standard sized larger constrictors make good choices as pet reptiles. The simple reason is that they all grow too large for most keepers to handle. Once a snake grows over 10 to 12

Supplier listing Western Hognose snake

PET GAZETTE

Exo-Terra: www.exo-terra.com Herptek: www.herptek.com John Berry Reptiles: www.johnberryreptiles.com Monkfield Nutrition: www.monkfieldnutrition.co.uk Peregrine Livefoods: www.peregrine-livefoods.co.uk Simon’s Rodents: www.simonsrodents.co.uk July 2012

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Voice on the highstreet

Voice on the highstreet What’s selling well at the moment? Barking Heads dog food is without doubt our bestseller. It gets our ‘thumbs up’ as first recommendation, not only because of the natural ingredients, but because of the diversity of the product range – it simply caters for all. The product is marketed really well, the packaging is bright and funky and gets its ethical message across in a clear and concise way without completely overwhelming customers!

What other services do you offer, as well as providing pet products? In a nutshell, it’s a free same-day delivery service and reliable pet sitting service.

What advances in pet nutrition have been particularly noteworthy since you first started out? Over the past few years the premium pet food market has been flooded, particularly with products coming from abroad. It’s great to see that the market has responded to the demand of owners wanting only good ingredients in their pet foods, which can only be beneficial to the health and welfare of their pets. Customers are more aware of the health problems that can be caused by the use of heavily cereal based foods (used as fillers) and are spending more time seeking out those which are naturally preserved and have human grade ingredients – good for them!

Julie Hammond and Richard Page,

Grumpy Pets Ltd, Cambridge

We last spoke to you both in 2010. What developments have there been at Grumpy Pets since then?

You sell kittens. Are there any plans to sell a wider variety of pets? No, not really – it’s a case of been there, seen that, worn the T-shirt. We’ve sold a wide variety of pets in the past, from reptiles, to handreared parrots, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. We found this experience often created more difficulties than expected. Some of the problems occur when pets remain unsold, or need veterinary treatment – they still require housing, bedding and care. The options are then limited and one of them is giving the animals away to create space, which quite frankly is not for us!

A difficult one to answer…but we’re still in business and with the retail climate being so difficult at the moment, it feels like that’s quite a big achievement in itself! We have taken on a part-time member of staff to enable us to spend more time on promoting and marketing ourselves and we have a new website in place. Recently we set up a customer loyalty scheme, which is going down really well with our customers. We are constantly trying to improve the look and layout of our premises and keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the pet trade, so you could say we’re busy.

When we last spoke to you, you were looking to adapt the Grumpy’s website into an ecommerce site. How far have you got with the website?

What has been your favourite pet product that you’ve stocked since we last spoke?

Where do you see Grumpy’s in five years?

We would have to say Sureflap’s microchip cat flap. A long-awaited product for the trade, it solves the problem of keeping stray and unwanted cats out of the home and only allows entry to the feline residents that live there, by reading their unique microchip. A sturdy and innovative design, competitively priced, and the cat doesn’t even have to wear a collar!

July 2012 

In the end we decided against an ecommerce site for the time being, simply because we couldn’t compete on price and it would seem so many other people are doing it! We’re not saying ‘never’, we’re just saying ‘not yet’. We do have a wonderful new website, which is up and running – it helps new people to find our business and tells them what we do and that we have a sense of humour! It’s simple – we just want Grumpy Pets to still be successful and surviving because we really enjoy running the business. After all the collective years we have been in business, we still feel challenged and fulfilled. The pet trade is full of really nice people and we want to stay in it. We can honestly say that there is not one day when we wake up and don’t look forward to coming to work!

PET GAZETTE


PET GAZETTE

July 2012


July 2012 

PET GAZETTE

Pet Gazette July 2012  

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