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Scientists map genome of healthy German shepherd

Scientists map genome of healthy German shepherd

Tool will allow researchers to determine whether dogs are likely to develop hip dysplasia

Researchers have mapped the entire genome of a healthy German shepherd, giving vets a powerful tool with which to better screen for hip dysplasia and other canine diseases.

Scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and other institutes used advanced genome sequencing technology to unravel 38 pairs of dog chromosomes, to decode the 19,000 genes and 2.8 billion pairs of DNA.

The study was carried out on a sample of blood provided by 'Nala', a healthy five-year-old German shepherd living in Sydney, and published in the journal GigaScience.

“One of the most common health problems affecting German shepherds is canine hip dysplasia, which is a painful condition that can restrict their mobility,” explained study author Professor Bill Ballard, an evolutionary biologist at the UNSW.

“Because German shepherds make such good working dogs, there has been a lot of money spent looking into the causes and predictors of this problem. When working dogs – such as those trained to work with police or to help people with disabilities – end up getting hip dysplasia, then that’s a lot of lost time and money that has gone into the training of that dog."

He continued: “Now that we have the genome, we can determine much earlier in life whether the dog is likely to develop the condition. And over time, it will enable us to develop a breeding program to reduce hip dysplasia in future generations.”

Nala is described in the paper as “an easy-going and approachable 5.5-year-old,” selected because she was free of all known genetic diseases, including no sign of hip dysplasia. She was chosen for the study by TV and radio vet Dr Robert Zammit, who Professor Ballard says has amassed X-rays and blood samples of more than 600 German shepherds.

“Now we’ll be able to look at those hip x-rays and all the DNA of those dogs and compare them back to this healthy reference female,” Professor Ballard says. 

Kennel Club welcomes new Lucy's Law

Kennel Club welcomes new Lucy's Law

Figures released by the organisation  show a spike in people searching for a puppy

The introduction of Lucy's Law, which bans the third-party sale of puppies and kittens, has been hailed by The Kennel Club as a 'long awaited and welcome step'.

The new law, which came into force on Monday (6 April) means that third-party sellers, such as pet shops or commercial dealers in England can no longer sell puppies or kittens, unless they have bred the animal themselves. Anyone wanting to adopt a puppy or kitten under the age of six months must now go direct to a licenced breeder, or consider adopting one from a rescue centre.

“Sadly, too often irresponsible breeders in the UK and abroad have depended on commercial third party sellers – like ‘dealers’ or pet shops – to disguise the horrific conditions puppies are bred and brought up in to the public, readily making a huge profit while causing untold suffering,” said Holly Conway, head of public affairs at the Kennel Club.

“We hope Lucy’s Law will help bring an end to this and that, as well as improving welfare conditions for puppies, it will also encourage anyone thinking of getting a puppy to really do their research, find a responsible breeder and bring home a happy, healthy new addition to the family.”

Her comments come as new figures reveal a surge in public interest in getting a puppy in the last month.

The figures show that searches for new puppies via the Kennel Club's '‘Find a Puppy’ tool increased by 53 per cent from February to March, with the biggest spike seen in the week leading up to lockdown – the 16th - 23rd of March. Searches were up 37 per cent compared to the previous week, and 84 per cent compared to the same week in 2019.

Commenting on this rise in interest, Holly said: “With people staying at home, meaning they have more time on their hands and to spend with family, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some are thinking about getting a puppy. While we would underline that now may not be the right time to bring home a puppy, or make an impulsive decision to get a pet, these figures could be a sign of more people looking to find a breeder directly in the future, which is extremely positive and what Lucy’s Law aims to impose.”

Sniffer dogs could join battle against COVID-19

Sniffer dogs could join battle against COVID-19

Scientists looking into whether dogs can be trained to detect the disease

Scientists are exploring whether dogs could be used to sniff-out COVID-19 and help curb the spread of the disease.

The charity Medical Detection Dogs has already trained canines to detect diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections. Now it has joined forces with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University - a team which recently proved that dogs could be trained to detect malaria.

Together they have begun preparations to intensively train dogs to detect COVID-19. Scientists say that the dogs could be ready in as little as six weeks to help provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis towards the tail end of the epidemic.

“In principle, we’re sure that dogs could detect COVID-19. We are now looking into how we can safely catch the odour of the virus from patients and present it to the dogs, explained Dr Claire Guest, CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Detection Dogs.

“The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic and tell us whether they need to be tested. This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed.”

Medical Detection Dogs has spent many years successfully researching the science behind a dog's olfactory powers. It has already produced more than a dozen peer-reviewed research papers which support its belief that each disease has a unique odour.

The dogs will be trained to detect COVID-19 by sniffing samples in the charity's training room and indicating when they have found it. Because they can also identify subtle changes in the temperature of the skin, the dogs could also be used to tell if someone has a fever.

The charity says that once trained, the dogs could be used to identify travellers entering the country infected with the virus or be deployed in other public spaces.

“Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odours from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy – above the World Health Organisation standards for a diagnostic,” said Professor James Logan from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“We know that other respiratory diseases like COVID-19, change our body odour so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionise our response to COVID-19 in the short term, but particularly in the months to come, and could be profoundly impactful.”

Professor Steve Lindsay from Durham University added: “If the research is successful, we could use COVID-19 detection dogs at airports at the end of the epidemic to rapidly identify people carrying the virus. This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control.”

Image (C) Medical Detection Dogs.

Lucy's Law bans third-party puppy sales

Lucy's Law bans third-party puppy sales

Legislation comes into force following 10-year campaign

New government legislation that bans third-party puppy and kitten sales comes into force today (6 April), meaning that anyone in England wanting to get a new puppy or kitten must now do so directly from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre.

Under 'Lucy's Law', licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.

The legislation is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who died in 2016 after being mistreated on a puppy farm. It is the result of a 10-year grassroots campaign spearheaded by TV vet Marc Abraham and supported by a host of prominent figures, including Ricky Gervais, Brian May, Rachel Riley, and Peter Egan.

Marc Abraham said: “I’m incredibly proud to have led the 10-year campaign to ban cruel puppy and kitten dealers and to get this essential Lucy’s Law legislation over the line. I’d like to give a huge thanks to UK Government for passing this law, as well as every animal-loving parliamentarian, celebrity, welfare organisation, and member of the public that supported us."

Puppy farms are located across the UK with most depending on third-party sellers or ‘dealers’ to distribute often sick, traumatised, unsocialised puppies which have been taken away from their mother at just a few weeks old. This can involve long-distance transportation, with the puppy or kitten suffering life-threatening medical, surgical, or behavioural problems which are passed on to unsuspecting new owners.

Animal welfare minister Zac Goldsmith commented: “Today is a significant milestone for animal welfare, and a major step towards ending cruel puppy farming and smuggling. After all the hard work of Marc Abraham and the Lucy’s Law campaign, I’m so pleased that we finally have this crucial legislation which will help tackle the heart-breaking third-party trade of dogs and cats." 

Shenzhen bans consumption of cat and dog meat

Shenzhen bans consumption of cat and dog meat

Move comes in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak

Shenzhen has become the first city in mainland China to permanently ban the consumption and trade of cat and dog meat in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The food safety legislation - Shenzhen Special Economic Region Regulation on a Comprehensive Ban on the Consumption of Wild Animals – will come into effect on 1 May 2020.

Announcing the ban, a Shenzhen government spokesperson said: “… dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan. This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”

In addition to the ban on dog and cat meat, the new legislation will see fines of up to 150,000 yuan for the consumption, breeding and sale of lizards, snakes and other wild animals. Animals that can still be sold and eaten under the new legislation include pig, cattle, sheep, rabbit and chicken.

According to Humane Society International (HSI), some 30 million dogs a year are killed across Asia for meat. However, most people in China don't eat dogs, dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20 per cent of the Chinese population.

Welcoming the move, Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist for animal protection charity Humane Society International, said: “With Shenzhen taking the historic decision to become mainland China’s first city to ban dog and cat meat consumption, this really could be a watershed moment in efforts to end this brutal trade that kills an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats in China every year.

“The majority of these companion animals are stolen from people’s back yards or snatched from the streets, and are spirited away on the backs of trucks to be beaten to death in slaughterhouses and restaurants across China. Shenzhen is China’s fifth-largest city so although the dog meat trade is fairly small there compared with the rest of the province, its true significance is that it could inspire a domino effect with other cities following suit.”

He continued: “Most people in China don’t eat dog or cat meat, and there is considerable opposition to the trade particularly among younger Chinese. Although World Health Organization advice is clear that dogs and cats pose no known coronavirus threat whatsoever, it’s no surprise that attention is turning to this trade at this time because it undoubtedly poses a huge human health risk for other diseases such as rabies, as well as causing immense animal suffering.”

Dr Teresa M. Telecky, vice president of the wildlife department for Humane Society International, added: “Shenzhen is the first city in the world to take the lessons learned from this pandemic seriously and make the changes needed to avoid another pandemic. People around the world are suffering the impact of this pandemic because of one thing: the wildlife trade.

"Shenzhen’s bold steps to stop this trade and wildlife consumption is a model for governments around the world to emulate. We urge all governments to follow suit by banning wildlife trade, transport and consumption for any purpose.”

New insights into ionised hypercalcaemia

New insights into ionised hypercalcaemia

Relying on calcium concentrations alone could lead to misclassification

Relying on calcium concentrations alone to diagnose dogs with ionised hypercalcaemia could lead to misclassification in approximately one-third of dogs, according to new research.

In the study, scientists at the University of Edinburgh first established a normal reference interval for ionised calcium, total calcium and albumin, serum and plasma biochemistry from samples of 351 healthy adult dogs.

Next, they searched the laboratory’s database for adult dogs with ionised hypercalcaemia that had attended the University's Hospital for Small Animals between 2012 and 2017 - a time when researchers were using the same sample handling protocols and instrumentation.

Lastly, the team searched the hospital records for patient information and analysed the biochemical parameters. They found that, of 63 dogs identified with ionised l hypercalcaemia, 23 did not have a total hypercalcaemia (37 per cent), and from these 16 dogs, 23 (70 per cent) had albumin within the reference interval.

Summarising their findings in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, researchers conclude that, using total calcium, one-third of patients with ionised hypercalcaemia were not identified. There was also no significant relationship between albumin and total calcium in these cases.

“Hypercalcaemia is a very important clinical abnormality, often revealing severe underlying disease in dogs who do not get idiopathic hypercalcaemia,” commented lead author Camilla Tørnqvist-Johnsen. “This study reveals the true importance of doing an ionised calcium measurement when evaluating calcaemic status.”

Nick Jeffery, editor of JSAP added: “This study demonstrates that, if relying on total calcium alone, more than one-third of dogs with ionised hypercalcaemia will be classified as normocalcaemic. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that the discordance between ionised and total calcium cannot be routinely explained by a low protein-bound component.

“Whilst reference intervals are key in clinical practice to determine whether a result is an outlier from 95 per cent of a healthy population, it is not inevitable that a patient with an outlying biochemical test result has a clinically relevant disease.”

 New Dechra webinar series available for vet professionals

New Dechra webinar series available for vet professionals

Series to provide guidance on case management during COVID-19 pandemic

Dechra Veterinary Products has announced that it will be running a new series of webinars for veterinary professionals on how to effectively manage cases during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The first webinar, presented by Dechra’s veterinary technical advisor Emily Casey, will focus on Addison’s disease. According to Dechra, the webinar will include practical advice on how to stabilise patients and administer Zycortal while following current government guidelines, including prioritisation of blood testing, use of telemedicine and provision of additional owner support.

The webinar is due to take place on Thursday 2 April from 1pm to 2pm and again from 7pm to 8pm. It will be available to watch again or download afterwards via the Dechra Academy.

Additional webinars on case management during COVID-19 will be held each Wednesday in April. Each webinar will equal one hour of certified Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Technical services manager at Dechra Jamie Walker said: “Since the outbreak of coronavirus began, we have received a large number of calls from practices wanting advice and guidance on how they should be managing chronic cases at this time.

“Our case management webinars will offer practical advice on a number of common small animal issues and aim to provide reassurance and support to veterinary professionals at this challenging time.”

For further information about the webinars on offer, as well as how to register, please visit the Dechra website.

Cats Protection welcomes ban on third-party kitten sales

Cats Protection welcomes ban on third-party kitten sales

‘Lucy’s Law’ will come into effect on 6 April

Charity Cats Protection has released a statement welcoming the introduction of a new law which will ban the commercial sale of kittens and puppies from third parties in England.

‘Lucy’s Law’ – named after a spaniel used for breeding at a puppy farm in South Wales – will come into force on 6 April and will make it illegal for anyone other than the breeder to sell kittens and puppies commercially.

The legislation will mean anyone planning to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten under six months must deal directly with the breeder or with an animal rehoming centre. This will help to protect animal welfare and deter illegal smugglers and traders.

Cats Protection’s head of advocacy and government relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Cats Protection regularly hears harrowing stories of kittens which have been sold by third party sellers – individuals who acquire kittens for sale with the sole interest of making a profit.

“Kittens sold in this way are frequently separated from their mothers far too young and may have been bred in poor conditions which leave them sick, diseased or under-socialised. Their new owners may be left with hefty veterinary bills or with a cat which is not used to being around people and won’t make a good pet.

“Putting a stop to third party sales is a step in the right direction to improving the welfare of breeding cats and their kittens. But there is still more to be done, and Cats Protection would like the Government to go further by introducing regulation of cat breeding, ensuring that breeders are subject to licensing and inspection.”

ISFM offers vets free CPD during COVID-19 lockdown

ISFM offers vets free CPD during COVID-19 lockdown

Enables open access to free webinars hosted by veterinary specialists

In order to support veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) has announced that it will be enabling free access to its webinar channel.

ISFM has opened up the channel to help veterinary professionals keep up-to-date with CPD during this difficult period. The resource includes more than 40 webinars presented by veterinary specialists, on topics such as anaesthesia and analgesia, neurology, behaviour and nutrition. Each webinar provides one hour of CPD, with a certificate available to download.

A new webinar is also included titled ‘COVID-19 – helping cats cope’ recorded by feline behaviourist Lucy Hoile, which provides information on advising owners to help their cats deal with changes at home.

Sam Taylor, feline medicine consultant at ISFM, commented: “ISFM is committed to educating veterinary professionals on all things feline, so we are delighted to be able to bring some of our normally member-only benefits to a wider audience during this challenging time.”

ISFM’s parent company International Cat Care has also released a webinar designed specifically for cat owners called ‘COVID-19 – meeting your cat’s needs’ presented by cat behaviour counsellor Vicky Halls.

She said: “Changes in household routines and adults and children spending more time at home can make this a stressful time for our pet cats. However, there are a lot of simple things which we can do as cat owners to help them cope, and I will give you lots of tips during the presentation on how to achieve this.”

For more information, or to register for the webinar channel please visit the International Cat Care website.


RSPCA urges local authorities to reduce restrictions on dog walkers

RSPCA urges local authorities to reduce restrictions on dog walkers

Fears locally-imposed orders will lead to unnecessary travel

The RSPCA is asking local authorities to relax restrictions on areas where dogs can be walked to help reduce transmission of COVID-19 and protect canine welfare.

Many local councils have introduced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to stop dogs being walked in areas such as sports pitches and beaches.

However, new government restrictions state that each person in a household may leave their home only once a day for exercise. This impacts dog walkers who are restricted on where they can walk their dog due to PSPOs.

The RSPCA is concerned that having limited areas to walk their pets will lead some dog walkers to feel that they have to travel to exercise their dogs and protect their welfare. The charity believes that temporarily relaxing PSPOs will stop unnecessary travel and allow dog walkers to continue exercising within their immediate communities.

The RSPCA has also issued advice to dog walkers, encouraging them to keep two metres away from others, keep dogs on leads and avoid contact with other people’s pets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA's companion animals department, said: "The RSPCA is concerned that if some dog owners do not have adequate space to exercise their dogs near their homes because of these local authority orders, they may make unnecessary journeys - contrary to the UK and Welsh Government's advice to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“It won't be possible, appropriate or safe to relax PSPOs in all areas. However, where it is possible and safe to do so, we're urging local authorities to be flexible and consider relaxing enforcement of PSPOs on dog walking - to help keep people as close to home as possible to help tackle COVID-19; ensuring more people have adequate dog walking spots as near to their home as possible.”

Pet cats kill two to ten times more wildlife than wild animals

Pet cats kill two to ten times more wildlife than wild animals

Study shows most kills take place around a cat's home

Domestic cats kill two to ten times more wildlife than wild predators, according to new research.

Scientists found that the effect is mostly concentrated around a cat's home, since much of their movement is within a 100-meter radius, and usually encompasses a few of their neighbour's gardens.

In the study, researchers from NC State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences collaborated with scientists and citizen scientists from six countries. The team collected GPS cat-tracking data and prey-capture reports from 925 pet cats, with most coming from the U.S., U.K, Australia and New Zealand.

Lead author Roland Kays said: "Since they are fed cat food, pets kill fewer prey per day then wild predators, but their home ranges were so small that this effect on local prey ends up getting really concentrated," said Roland Kays, the paper's lead author.

"Add to this the unnaturally high density of pet cats in some areas, and the risk to bird and small mammal population gets even worse. We found that house cats have a two- to 10-time larger impact on wildlife than wild predators - a striking effect.”

The team enlisted hundreds of pet owners to track their cats to see where they went and report on the number of dead creatures they brought home. GPS tracking devices measured distances travelled by the cats, which spent their time both inside and outside.

Kays continued: "We knew cats were killing lots of animals - some estimates show that cats in North America kill from 10 to 30 billion wildlife animals per year - but we didn't know the area in which that was happening, or how this compared with what we see in nature.”

Writing in the journal Animal Conservation, the researchers calculated the amount of prey killed per year by house cats, and divided the number by the area in which the cats hunted. Some adjustments were made to the prey count, as cats don't necessarily bring all their kills home.

Their findings show that house cats kill an average of 14.2 to 38.9 prey per 100 acres, or hectare, per year. They also reveal that cats do much of their damage to wildlife in disturbed habitats, such as housing developments.

Study co-author Rob Dunn, a distinguished professor of applied ecology at NC State, said: "Because the negative impact of cats is so local, we create a situation in which the positive aspects of wildlife, be they the songs of birds or the beneficial effects of lizards on pests, are least common where we would appreciate them most.

"Humans find joy in biodiversity, but we have, by letting cats go outdoors, unwittingly engineered a world in which such joys are ever harder to experience."

Huge rise in rescue pet rehoming figures for Battersea

Huge rise in rescue pet rehoming figures for Battersea

Support for rescue pets amid unprecedented times

Battersea has reported that more than 150 dogs and cats from their rehoming centres found new homes last week, despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Battersea called the news ‘a small ray of hope’ as 86 dogs and 69 cats were taken into new homes from Monday 16 – Sunday 22 March. The charity confirmed that is more than double the figures for the same week in 2019.

Rob Young, head of operations at Battersea, said: “We want to thank all these new owners for thinking of rescue pets at such a challenging time.

“All three of our Battersea centres are now closed to the public, but many of our animals are now in loving homes or out on temporary foster with our staff and volunteers. Battersea are still caring for around 100 animals at our three centres and working hard to ensure each and every dog and cat continues to get the treatment, care, love, play and interaction they need.”

Smudge, a 10-year-old black and white domestic short-hair cat, was just one of the animals who left Battersea last week, after spending two weeks in the charity’s care.

Another animal that found a suitable home was a four-year-old mongrel named Tulip, who came into Battersea as a stray more than three months ago. She was very anxious upon her arrival, but the teams helped her to gain confidence and she was finally adopted by a loving family last week.

Image (c) Battersea.

UK animal organisations unite to support pet owners during COVID-19

UK animal organisations unite to support pet owners during COVID-19

New resources help to combat misinformation around pet care

A number of UK charities and animal organisations have collaborated to produce a series of informative infographics to help pet owners care for their animals and each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coalition is concerned about the spread of misinformation which causing confusing and stress amongst owners, and includes groups such as Battersea, BSAVA, Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, the Blue Cross and PDSA.

The colourful infographics offer tips and advice on how owners can protect their pets and themselves by practising good hygiene, how to look after pets whilst social distancing or self-isolating, and how to help charities and vulnerable people with pets.

Chris Laurence, chair of the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG), said: “We have come together to reassure people that there is no evidence that pets can get sick from coronavirus so not to panic or worry. We have also written some clear and simple tips about how to continue to care for them through this crisis.

“Like many others, the animal welfare sector is facing huge strain, with reduced staffing, loss of volunteers and pressure on resources. We need to reassure owners with good advice so they can continue to look after their pets, and this will help prevent rescue centres being overwhelmed at this challenging time.”

“Pets are a big part of our families and it is important to make sure they stay happy and healthy during these difficult times. Isolation for us can mean some big changes for our pets and they won’t understand why. We hope this advice will help owners help their pets, while looking after themselves too.”

Please visit the CFSG website for more information, including a full list of the organisations involved.

Blue Cross donates ventilators to the NHS

Blue Cross donates ventilators to the NHS

Vital equipment to be used in the fight against COVID-19

Pet charity Blue Cross has provided support to NHS hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, by donating two of its mechanical ventilators.

The two ventilators, which are typically used on pets under anaesthetic and in surgery at the charity’s animal hospitals in London, have now been sent to NHS hospitals in London and Surrey.

The charity’s donation follows countrywide calls from Defra, the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England for veterinary practices and other organisations to donate any ventilators they can spare in order to prepare for an expected increase in patients suffering from severe respiratory problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadine Lock, chief veterinary surgeon at the Blue Cross hospital in Hammersmith, commented: “We wanted to offer our help and we understand ventilators are critically important in supporting the recovery of human patients in hospital being treated for the virus. Blue Cross teams can manually ventilate pets in surgery at our hospital in Victoria, should this be necessary.”

In its call to action for UK practices, Defra said: “We are aware that many veterinary practices across the country may have NHS compatible - human ventilators that they are not using for emergency animal care. To be clear we are not asking for ventilators only suitable for animals.

“We are also cognisant of animal welfare, and that you will need to set aside ventilators for emergency veterinary care. We are therefore only asking you to contribute what you can, acknowledging the difficult balance involved.”

If you think your practice may be able to assist the NHS, please click here to register your interest.

Blue Cross issues advice for pet owners during COVID-19 lockdown

Blue Cross issues advice for pet owners during COVID-19 lockdown

Charity offers information and ideas to keep pets happy and healthy

Following the latest government advice, pet owners across the UK are now either social distancing or self-isolating. In response to this, charity Blue Cross has published guidance for pet owners concerned about the impact that these unsettling times will have on the nation’s pets.

The charity reminds people who are social distancing and can still take their dogs for a walk to keep a distance of at least two metres between themselves and others. It also asks pet owners who are self-isolating to reach out to friends and family members outside of their household, to take their dog out for them.

Blue Cross also asserts the importance of washing hands after handling pets and recommends that people who are unwell and self-isolating avoid letting other people stroke or handle their pets.

Many pets will not be receiving their usual amount of exercise. So the advice also includes some tips to help owners keep their pets healthy and mentally stimulated.These include:

  • encouraging pets to play with toys and treats by hiding them around the house, as well as playing fetch
  • providing cats with scratching posts and climbing apparatus to help them exercise
  • using treat toys to keep pets busy when giving them food and treats
  • using extra time at home to carry out regular pet training.

If pets are becoming a distraction for people working from home, they are advised to place their pets in another room for rest periods throughout the day. Blue Cross states that this will also prevent pets from becoming too ‘clingy’, potentially leading to dogs suffering from separation anxiety when their owners return to work.

Finally, the advice reminds pet owners that many cleaning products are toxic to pets and asks them to ensure that pets are kept away from areas being disinfected until they are completely dry.

For further details, please visit


The Kennel Club announces emergency relief fund

The Kennel Club announces emergency relief fund

Will support canine organisations and rescues affected by COVID-19

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and The Kennel Club Educational Trust have announced the establishment of an emergency relief fund to support dog rescue centres and organisations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has stated that it will help organisations in the community, such as rescue centres, which require additional support in order to preserve the welfare of the dogs they care for. Additionally, the Kennel Club Educational Trust will support training clubs that have been negatively affected.

In a statement, the Kennel Club also stated that it is currently exploring funding and support arrangements for clubs and canine societies worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those societies affected by cancellations.

Reverend Bill King, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust said: “The coronavirus pandemic is devastating for so many communities, including all those involved in dogs. Many of those affected run small but incredibly vital and dedicated organisations, clubs and rescues which make a huge difference for dogs, and now urgently need support to be able to survive these unprecedented times.

“We are only as strong as our community and the Kennel Club and its related charities are fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit through this challenging time.”

The Kennel Club and its charities will announce further details, including information on how to apply, shortly.