Frightening Fireworks

Do you get stressed? Well, so do your pets – but they communicate it differently. Unlike humans who shop, over eat, drink too much and shout at people when they or stressed (just me then?) dogs and cats have a very different language.

It’s especially important over the Halloween to new-years party period that we keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of stress and provide support and treatment for out companion animals.

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The Objectives of Organic

Organic certification logo EUEver wondered “What’s the point Organic food?” It is about health? Or about the environment? Why should I buy Organic pet food, my pet can’t tell the difference… Well here is the lowdown: The Objectives of Organic!

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An Anxious Dog

Bryn, our new rescue dog, is starting to settle in well. He likes the cats (okay a bit to much) and he gets on really well with my Mum and Dad’s dogs. He even likes to play Beco-tug with the incorrigible Thea!

He likes sleeping on fluffy warm rugs and being tucked in nice and cosy with blankets. Despite all the progress, he remains a troubled dog and recovery is going to be a long road for him. Here is a little bit of info about the things which are working so far…

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Milo’s Last Miles: Summer Holiday

In animal sanctuaries there are dogs of all shapes and sizes… and some of them are very old. Milo was, until recently, one such dog. It’s hard for sanctuaries to find homes for dogs like Milo; they are often ill or needy and require a lot of attention and patience. Additionally, many people worry that it will be too sad to befriend an animal who has only a few months left to live. At Ethical Pets, we have cared for a dog like this before, called Beth: we found living with her a wonderful and fulfilling experience, so we have decided to do it again! This time, we are keeping a blog in the hope that maybe others will consider adopting their own little Beth or Milo one day. So, here it is: our record of Milo’s Last Miles.

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Missi Hathaway on Ethical Pet Insurance

The Importance of Insuring Your Pet

Our pets are part of the family, which is why we should go to great lengths to look after them. If they sadly become ill or have an accident, it is our responsibility to get them the right care. Unfortunately, the cost of taking animals to the vet can be high which is why having the right pet insurance in place can protect owners and the animal. We may not like to think of our animals becoming unwell or getting knocked down on a main road, but if the worst happens, it’s best to be prepared with a comprehensive pet policy. It’s not just illnesses or accidents which require a trip to the local vet either. When we first get our new addition to the family, we need to make sure of a number of things. Depending on the kind of pet you have, you may need to inoculate them from any infections that can be picked up. Kittens for example need a series of injections before they can go outside. You may also want to have them micro chipped. Animals prone to running away or getting stolen can be identified by a chip that brings up the owner’s details when scanned. Neutering or spaying your pet will also prevent any unwanted breeding occurring and can also reduce the cost of a pet insurance policy, albeit marginally.

Getting Insurance For Your Animal

There are different ways to go about insuring pets. You have to look at what is cost effective for you and the kind of animal you own. The most popular pets in Britain are dogs and cats, followed by rabbits. All pets however need to be considered when it comes to those hefty vets bills. Some will require more specialist insurance, such as horses and ponies. You need to check you are covered for public liability insurance, accident cover and if appropriate, horse boxes. Looking at the small print is vital, rather than just going with the cheapest provider. Check your pet is covered for:

* Type or breed of animal
* Travel
* Age of the animal
* More than one pet
* Kennel or cattery fees
* Death
*Accidental damage

You will also need to get the right policy. If you will need long term care for a pet with medical problems, you’ll need a high level cover.

Ethical Pet Insurance

You may feel that investing in your pet is costly, but it is best to be prepared if the worst happens. If you don’t have money put aside, insurance will protect your purse and your pooch. Going with an ethical provider can mean a percentage of the net profit goes to animal charities so you can be involved with helping out other animals in need. When looking for ethical insurance, you can take into consideration how much it will cost you to insure your pet, and how much is donated to charity. For example, the Animal Friends insurance group have so far donated over one million pounds of their profits to welfare charities in the UK and worldwide. They also offer good value insurance.

There are many ethical providers of pet insurance. Some are considered to be eco-friendly as they donate some of the profits they make to help endangered species. Some also contribute to conservation organisations which help to conserve natural habitats for wild animals. These include wetland and wildlife areas as well as protecting plant life. Some of the insurance organisations donate their profits to various animal welfare charities both nationally and internationally. The Co-Operative bank have declined finance from businesses who do not meet animal welfare standards. They will not promote animal testing, blood sports, the fur trade or exploitation of great apes. This means only accepting finance from companies who are not involved in these trades. They are also against intensive farming, which involves farming caged animals.

When deciding on an ethical insurance company, you may consider which to go with on a number of factors. This may depend on which charities the profits are donated to, how eco-friendly they are or which ones contribute to climate change. Some may be clearer on their investments than other companies, so you will know where the money goes.

Also, the cost of the insurance and excess and getting the right kind of insurance for your particular pet is important.

Alternative Ways to Afford the Vet

Saving enough money to put aside for emergencies can have it’s advantages and disadvantages. Using an easy access savings account can help when you need some cash for your poorly pet. The downside would be that you would have to have enough money in your fund in case you need it. If your pet needed an unexpected visit to the vet, you will need some funds to hand.

However, you may to decide not to ensure your pet. The advantage would be if your pet stays well, and you’ve saved money you would have otherwise spent on insurance.

It is a good idea to get a good deal for your savings account, or if you need a low interest loan to use for vets bills. There are ethical ways to save money with mutual savings banks. They are set up by depositors and borrowers, and all the profit is reinvested in itself. Also known as credit unions, joining the scheme is an alternative.

The credit unions are non profit organisations and so you can put away as much as you like into your savings account. The credit unions pay a yearly dividend, meaning you get money back at the end of it on a percentage of what you saved. If you use this as an alternative to pet insurance rather than putting money into insurance, you are also saving. So, if your pet doesn’t require a visit to the vet that year, you have your savings and any extras on top. It could come in handy if anything happened to your beloved companion.

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Missi writes on behalf of one of the UK’s largest consumer advice and information portals. She specialises in pet health and insurance topics. She grew up in Southampton, PA but is spending most of 2013 in Manchester, England where she has family.

The Paw Report Report – Vol.1

The new PAW Report, by PDSA and YouGov, lifts the lid on some of the most concerning pet health and welfare issues facing UK pets today. With sections focusing on Diet, Behavior, Health and Ownership, their is lots to read and talk about. This is our review of Section 1 of the report: Food in Focus.

The statistics which really jumped out at me from this part of the report are that that only 3% of dog owners can identify the ideal healthy shape of a dog when shown a range of images and that 56% of cat owners with an overweight cat believe that their cat’s shape is as it should be. Are you one of them? Despite how many people are unsure about their pets weight, people seem well informed about the consequences of chubby pets – fat related diseases and a shorted life span. Somehow, we have learned that fat is bad, but not what fat looks like: checkout our quiz below to see if you can pick out the pets with a healthy figure.

Another worrying issue is that many Rabbit owners are feeding their bunnies incorrectly: remember, rabbit muesli is just for a treat – bunnies should eat at least their own body size in hay or grass each day for their main course, and then just a little muesli and/or fresh veg for pudding.

cat and dog weight quiz

click for answers

Click to see the Paw Report and weight guides for cats and dogs.

Pet Food: Why Organic?

 

What does “organic” mean in relation to pet food?

 

 

Animal Welfare: For Yarrah as an organic pet food company, the most important aspect of organic agriculture is the very high regard for animal welfare. Poultry, cattle and fish form the basis of our premium Nature’s Finest pet food. It is therefore crucial that these animals are treated with dignity and respect. Organic agriculture guarantees that poultry and cattle have room to move and grow at a natural rate in an environment that minimizes stress. Because regulation regarding organic fish do not meet our standards of animal welfare, Yarrah has decided to switch to MSC-fish (read our statement!).
Nothing artificial: Yarrah does not add any chemical colorings, aromatic substances or flavorings. We do not use artificial preservatives: we preserve our dry food with vitamin E and rosemary extracts. For our wet food we use precise temperatures for sterilization. These steps ensure that the valuable vitamins and minerals are not broken down during production.
Our natural and organic recipes contain all the required vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids a dog or cat requires in the correct proportions. All of our products are made from certified organic materials in compliance with EU Regulations for Organic Products. The Dutch organic hallmark (EKO) issued by Skal is the guarantee for the organic origin and manufacture of the products.

All certified organic ingredients are completely traceable to the source. All the organic materials are constantly monitored from start to finish ensuring they meet our stringent requirements. To be sure all the ingredients are 100% organic, Yarrah buys all the ingredients themselves. To give this 100% guarantee the Quality manager of Yarrah visits the producers personally; the larger ones at least once a year, the smaller once at least every other year.

No animal testing: Yarrah deliberately rejects any and all animal testing. Any palatability tests (to gauge the pets acceptance of the product) are carried out in the pets natural home setting. Yarrah does not allow any of our foods to be tested using either captive animals or invasive testing techniques. This has some consequences for our health claims. We cannot claim that our products have beneficial influences for your pet. Luckily there are many people who are very happy with our products and are willing to tell this to others.
Alternative testing: How do we test our products? Simple: if we want to introduce a new flavour or a new product, we ask about 100 dog or cat owners to feed the new product to their pet. Of course none of the ingredients has a health risk, so it is absolutely safe for the pet to eat the new product. If they like the product, we will adopt the new product. We are proud that we can use the logo of the Dutch Society against animal testing.

Why organic pet food? Is it better for our pets?

 

 

 

Yes, organic pet food is better than conventional pet food because what it does NOT have. A dog in general is not very picky when it comes to food. If the food smells good, the dog will eat it. There is a reason that most if not all dogs will always eat (high end) conventional food, the added chemical scents or fragrances that are applied ensure this.

The second reason that organic is better is the lack of preservatives. Conventional dog food is preserved with chemical preservatives to give the food a longer sell by date. Organic pet food has a short shelf life because no chemical preservatives are applied. Natural/organic antioxidants such as rosemary extracts are used instead.Are these chemical fragrances and preservatives really healthy for dogs? Probably not. Can these chemicals cause irritations in dogs? Maybe, but why risk it when they can be avoided.
Arguing that the organic grain and meat ingredients being better than conventional can be controversial. There are many studies that prove organic agriculture produces higher quality, more nutritious products, but there are also studies that claim there are no differences. What organic pet food CAN guarantee is that there are no chemical pesticide residues, genetically modified organisms or pharmaceutical residues in the food.
Organic pet food, at least in Yarrah’s case, also guarantees that we do not use bones, feathers, hooves, blood or other cheap fillers in our products.
Does organic food improve animal welfare for farm animals and wild animals (too)?
Organic farm animals are treated much better than animals in the conventional farming industry. An organic chicken for instance lives twice as long and has over 16 times more space to live on and is able to go outside. The beef Yarrah uses, are completely  grass-fed so no tropical forest have to be cut to grow soy. Organic farmers do not use dangerous pesticides, so also small rodents and useful insects like bees are not harmed.
What changes would Yarrah like to see in the pet food industry? Where would you like pet food to be in 100 years?

 

 

The first thing other pet food producers should stop doing, is testing their food on animals in kennels. A dogs life should not be used in this way; it has a right to have a normal life among people in a family.
The next step should be informing the customer truthfully about their products and where the ingredients come from. It is a terrible idea that people do not know that they are feeding their pets with meat of animals that are kept in small cages, with no room to live.
In 100 years, but hopefully much sooner, all pet owners will get the message that harming one animal to feed another is not acceptable. They will demand to know what is in their pet food, they will realize that chemical flavors, fragrances and colors are not needed, and will pick their brand of pet food purely on quality standards and not the amount of marketing budget a brand has available.

Shep: Reporting Live Vol.1

Shep recently interviewed Sarah Graham, Communications Assistant at The Dogs Trust. Here is a full transcript.

Christmas was fun for me, I slept by the fire mostly. What do the dogs in Dogs Trust sanctuaries do at Christmas?

 

Once they are all cleaned and fed, all the dogs go for lovely long walk. Staff spend all day with the dogs to make sure they all enjoy their day and get lots of fuss and attention. All the dogs will also get a special treat out of their stocking – a special chew or a toy. All the dogs have stockings and the sponsored dogs proudly display their Christmas Cards from their sponsors. There is a Christmas tree in reception and the staff wear festive Santa hats.

 

So do people still get Dogs for Christmas (and not for life?)

 

 

I’m afraid so. 34 years ago Dogs Trust created the famous slogan “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” – but sadly it appears that many people still buy dogs as presents without proper thought being given to the responsibilities involved. Each year we see around 100 dogs dumped at our re-homing centres over the Christmas period. We regret to say that 2012 was no different. It seems that people are still giving puppies as Christmas presents without considering the long term ramifications. Dogs can provide a world of happiness and enjoyment, and we urge anyone considering a new addition to the family to ‘think life’ and carefully consider the individual needs of the dog’s breed too.

 

Where do all the Christmas dogs come from?

 

 

Sadly one of the most popular places to buy dogs is online. Dogs Trust acknowledges that the Internet is an accessible way of purchasing gifts quickly, but the impulse buying of pets and animals poses the enormous risk of attracting many unscrupulous breeders. Consumers could, unintentionally, end up purchasing a pet from a puppy farm that has been trafficked into the UK. Such puppies often have physical and behavioral problems as a result of poor breeding conditions and traumatic transportation. To help prevent people thoughtlessly buying or giving a dog as Christmas present, Dogs Trust centers did not re-home dogs between the 22nd and 29th of December (22nd December to 2nd January in Scotland). People were still able to visit and reserve a dog, but were not be able to take it home until the New Year

Were there any Dogs Trust miracles this Christmas?

 

Dogs Trust Glasgow was broken into four times during the Christmas period. Not only did the charity lose equipment, but some of the dogs became very distressed by the trauma and the centre was forced to close for a short period of time. In the midst of this turmoil, however, a Christmas miracle took place as dedicated staff helped a three year old Jack Russell Terrier, called Josie, give birth to a litter of seven pups on Christmas eve. The pups are all doing really well and have all been reserved to go to their loving new homes when they are old enough.

Here’s Josie and her pups, all doing well!

Ethical Pet of the Month – December 2012

Ethical Pet of the Month LogoRosie

Ethical Pet of the Month, December 2012

A few words by Debbie, Rosie’s guardian.

My partner Paul & I decided to get a dog because he was in the RAF & was spending many months of the year away. We thought a dog would be good company for me & would also encourage us both out in the beautiful countryside. I wanted to rescue a dog as we felt that there were so many dogs who needed rehoming & we wanted to give one a second chance.

So, the hunt was on!

I found a sad, skinny looking girl on the website of the Bath Cats & Dogs Home. She was underweight & had sore, red & swollen eyes. But those eyes…

We spent time with her, & the decision was made: Rosie was coming home to us!

photo of rosie before addoption
"She was underweight & had sore, red & swollen eyes..."

Her history was vague. She was 2 years old & we were to be her third owners. Her previous owners had taken her to the dogs home telling them she was a stray, but they then proceeded to fill the staff in on her entire medical history! 

The first few months were difficult: Rosie had many behavioural problems as a result of not being socialized. She was very sensitive to dietary changes so we had to choose her food carefully. She also displayed some upsetting signs that she had been abused by her previous owners. We would take one step forward & two back: it took patience & time, but now, two years on, Rosie is the most loving, loyal, happy friend we could ask for.

She loves people & has learned how to play gently with other dogs. She is wiggly & always wagging her tail. She also spends almost 22 hours a day sleeping! 

I work shifts & Rosie has made it her mission to be attentive to my strange sleeping patterns by always being by my side come day or night, fast asleep on her back, legs in the air snoring like a train! 

 Rosie is the most loving, loyal, happy friend we could ask for… She is wiggly & always wagging her tail!

Which brings me on to our friends at Ethical Pets! Sadly, Rosie began to suffer from unexpected & unexplained panic attacks. They were so distressing for her & we were exhausted from nights awake with her, trying to calm her down & reassure her. The attacks would last for hours & there seemed to be no way of calming her down.

I was reluctant to medicate her as this was just masking the problem rather than dealing with it & so I began to look for an alternative, natural & ethical solution. This is where I found Ethical Pets & their Mucky Pup Calming and Soothing Massage Oil. It took a few nights to totally kick in but I could see almost immediately that she was starting to relax. By the third night she had begun to present herself for her doggy massage before bed! I had discussed Rosie’s problems at length with Anna who was able to suggest some new products that they had recently discovered. She kindly sent some samples off for us to try.

photo of rosie asleep on her back on the sofa
Rosie Chillaxing after her Mucky Pup massage!

In our goody bag (along with a yummy vegan doggy treat!) was a Pet Remedy Plug-in Diffuser. Pet Remedy is made with a mixture of herbs that have a natural de-stressing effect on animals that is also non-sedating. I can honestly say we haven’t had any further problems with Rosie’s anxiety: she has returned to the happy, chilled out bed slug we love dearly… & I can’t tell you the relief of getting a good nights sleep ourselves!

Love from

Debbie & Rosie x

certificate for ethical pet of the month

 

Lorelei and White-Sox


A few months ago we paid a flying visit to our friend and customer Lorelei, and her darling baby White-Sox (who we adore!). I know that the idea of vegan cat food can seem a little odd at first – here is a good chance to oogle a vegan cat and see how many extra heads it has (not one!). He is really super healthy and ever so playful – a real charmer! We had a fab time exploring a local park and if you watch super closely, you will see White-Sox and Joe wandering around together in the background. Not sure who I love more…. shhhh!! 🙂 Best, Anna xx