Easter Egg Chocolate Warning!

ThePet.net‘s co-founder and vet Marc Abraham offers this advice:

We all know that on this festive weekend chocolate Easter eggs are a naughty lure to us humans but for any nosey pooch it could prove to be a fatal temptation.

Dogs ingesting even the smallest quantities of chocolate can suffer severe life-threatening seizures and in the worst-case scenarios even death; especially in smaller dogs like Chihuahuas – which ironically are more likely to be treated by their owners!

Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, chemicals having dangerous effects on our pets’ internal organs; while humans have the metabolism to cope with these chemicals, dogs do not.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in your dog can include hyperactivity, agitation, breathlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea and increased urination.

So please don’t forget the hazardous aspects of Easter. There are much higher levels of dangerous Theobromine in darker chocolate but all types of chocolate should be avoided at all times.

As well as symptoms of poisoning, chocolate can also lead to other life-threatening conditions like pancreatitis, diabetes and obesity.

Furthermore if you know your dog has eaten chocolate by mistake don’t wait for the symptoms to develop. Contact your vet immediately where your dog can receive all the necessary treatment it may need.

ThePet.net Supports the National Skin Health Survey

ThePet.net is very proud to support the National Skin Health Survey, launched by Yumega-makers Lintbells in response to the massive recent surge in skin enquiries they’ve received.

According to Yumega, a potentially harmful combination of climatic conditions, centrally-heated environments and, most significantly, diet has the greatest impact on skin and coat health but the extent of the effect on our nation’s pets is unknown.

The National Skin Health Survey will help to reveal the true scale of the problem affecting the nation’s pets, many of which are thought to be suffering in silence.

Take the survey now>>

We’ve given our full ThePet.net support to the National Skin Health Survey as we are keen to highlight worthwhile projects that encourage owner-feedback to improve the health and welfare of our nation’s pets.

Lintbells is conducting two online surveys, one for dogs and one for cats and comprise just a few questions that won’t take very long to answer and can be found by clicking here .

Owners taking part will also have the chance to win a range of prizes including tickets to the Ultimate Pet Show at the NEC Birmingham and Yumega omega 3 & 6 supplements.

All change for British Bulldog breed standard

It’s the end of an era for the iconic British Bulldog; but happily the start of a brand new much healthier one. The Kennel Club has radically changed the Bulldog’s breed standards as part of their continuing commitment to the future health and welfare of all dogs.

Improvements include a smaller head, less facial skin-folds, longer legs and a leaner body. In time these changes will deliver less classic breed-specific problems such as difficulties in the animals’ breathing coupled with exercise and heat tolerance, which are all directly affected by an elongated soft palate, narrowed nostrils and a flattened face. The greatest change however will simply be the reduced number of caesarian sections required to actually bring them into the world.

With their new slim-line design featuring shrunken head, fewer bitches will require general anaesthetic accompanied by some major abdominal surgery – just to deliver them. Sadly this practice is still common with Belgian Blue cattle – they are just too big to be born naturally and as a result one cow can have up to nine caesarians in her lifetime, usually all just a year apart and one after the other.

Many other popular breeds, like the German Shepherd and Bloodhound are also due exciting new re-vamps. It’s all change in the Pedigree Dog world, and if Obama, the States and our human world is anything to go by, change can only mean good news for all.

Useful Links:

Kennel Club: www.thekennelclub.org.uk

Crufts: www.crufts.org.uk

Bulldog on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulldog

Watch Marc Abraham talk about puppy farms on BBC

ThePet.net made BBC news this weekend with our own Marc Abraham being interviewed calling to end illegal puppy farms.

Watch Marc on BBC

Avoid the 12 Dangers of Christmas to your pet

At this festive time of year, ThePet.net urges you all to please consider how your festive celebrations may affect your pets, so we can all enjoy a safe and happy Christmas and New Year together:

1. Will your Christmas be spent at home or away? Leaving your pets at home will require the help of a responsible (and sober!) friend or neighbour to visit, feed and care for them.

2. Don’t forget that seasonal plants such as holly, poinsettia, ivy and mistletoe are all extremely toxic so please think very carefully when you’re busy decking your halls.

3. If you are staying local and having a party then spare a thought for nervous pets when pulling crackers or popping party poppers; perhaps shut them securely in a quieter room and checking on them regularly.

4. Christmas can be such a traumatic time for pets, with lots of noise and unfamiliar guests arriving, so please make them a priority otherwise they may get scared, try to escape and perhaps never return.

5. Brightly-coloured baubles and tantalizing tinsel are new and exciting objects for pets, who’ll most likely try to eat them causing all sorts of internal kerfuffles.

6. Securely attach any fragile glass decorations, making sure they’re kept out of reach at the top of your tree to avoid pets pulling them off, breaking them, or stepping on any sharp fragments.

7. Foodwise, there are hazards galore at this time of year. Regular readers will be well-aware that chocolate is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats (rule: the darker the more deadly), and any suspect ingestion should be reported to your vet immediately.

8. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea and increased urination, progressing to seizures and sometimes death.

9. Turkey bones can cause choking, constipation, as well as seriously damaging internal organs.

10. Make sure fairy lights and electric wires are ‘chew-proof’ from inquisitive puppies, kittens and even rabbits.

11. Another common danger at this time of year is anti-freeze; extremely palatable to cats, it will cause irreversible kidney failure if your cat even just licks his paws after walking through a puddle of the stuff, so be warned and check all outside areas and garages today.

12. Never ever give pets as presents, but if you are seriously thinking about getting your own furry friend, then please visit your local rescue centre in January, where sadly there’ll be plenty of confused new in-mates to choose from.

Finally, ThePet.net would like to wish all you and your pets a very happy and healthy Christmas and New Year, see you in 2009!

Beat the credit crunch and help pets in rescue with ThePet.net

ThePet.net is calling on all animal lovers to consider the canine victims of the credit crunch this Christmas as rescue centres reach breaking point. Christmas is always a busy time in rescue but long before the season got underway this year many big centres were operating a waiting list system for admissions.

Parliament has already stepped up in support of pets as MP Bob Spink tabled an Early Day Motion on animal welfare, championing organisations such as ThePet.net for promoting responsible pet ownership nationwide.

Bob has two rescue ex-racing Greyhounds himself – Fossie Bear and Jessica – and was extremely concerned to hear the news that re-homing at The Retired Greyhound Trust is down a whopping 47 per cent on this time last year.

The credit crunch has resulted in thousands of panicking owners giving up on their pets for fear of even greater economic trouble but ThePet.net co-founder and TV vet Marc Abraham is urging people to please reconsider.

“Pet ownership doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d think,” says Marc. “There are some really easy ways to cut the cost of pet care, such as replacing expensive commercial dog food with a healthy diet of home-made pasta and vegetables. People who may be considering taking on a rescue pet could be put off by worries of extra financial commitment but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.”

If you are bogged down with money worries, the last thing you want to do is get rid of the ultimate stress-buster. Just stroking a pet reduces tension and lowers blood pressure and walking a dog for just two 30 minute walks a day will burn off as many calories as a gym workout – without the expensive membership.

Marc is a firm believer in the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and is urging the public not to forget those poor dogs in rescue shelters over the festive season by thinking of ways to spread a little Christmas cheer.

Marc continues, “Think about bringing a pet into your life this Christmas. Maybe not by actually re-homing one if it’s not practical but by visiting a rescue centre and taking a dog out for a walk, or by dropping in a gift to brighten up a lonely Christmas in kennels.”

ThePet.net praised in Parliament Early Day Motion

In the first of two Early Day Motions (EDMs) for a debate on animal welfare, Bob Spink MP has praised ThePet.net for its work in promoting positive pet ownership. He also highlighted our role in increasing the public’s understanding of companion animals.

Entitled ‘Promoting the Welfare of Pets and Responsibilities of Pet Owners under the Animal Welfare Act’, the EDM is already gaining massive support from fellow MP’s.

Mr Spink, MP for Castle Point, Essex, said “This House congratulates the creators of a new and free internet site ThePet.net – Marc Abraham and Andrew Seel. We believe this website will increase public understanding of pets, promote more and better pet-friendly services and enable people to obtain more enjoyment from their pets and improve animal welfare.”

Check it out here

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