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As a Petplan customer, you’re part of a community of pet experts and fellow pet owners – people who’ve been through the highs and lows of owning a pet, from the cuddles and the playtime to the sleepless nights. It’s a journey we call Pethood, and you can find advice and inspiring stories here to support you and your pet along every step of the way.

View the latest Pethood articles

  • Behaviourist's Corner

    depression mood changes

    Could your dog have the winter blues?

    It’s normal for people to feel more down than usual at this time of year, but what about our pets? Certified clinical animal behaviourist Claire Hargrave answers our questions on doggy depression, and explains how best to care for your dog’s mental health. Plus, an owner shares the tricks she uses to keep her pets’ sadness at bay.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    training bonding

    ‘Here, Hoppy!’ – how to train a rabbit to come on command

    Rabbits are a social species, and while their instinct is to interact with other bunnies, your pet will also enjoy being sociable with you. Our expert explains how you can use that special time to train your bunnies to hop over when called.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    body language

    Body language know-how

    Understanding your cat’s body language can be a hugely rewarding experience and will help create a special bond between you. Here are some tips on how to transform your time together.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    fart

    Here’s why your dog farts and what you can do about it

    You’ve probably heard about a dog that can clear a room with his particular pong – in fact you might even own one! But what causes canine flatulence, and is it ever cause for alarm? Petplan vet Brian Faulkner has the answers on this embarrassing, and smelly, issue.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    biting nip

    Nip bunny biting in the bud

    Are you the owner of rabbits that occasionally like to nibble on you? Clinical animal behaviourist Rosie Bescoby explores what may be causing this perplexing behaviour and what you can do to prevent it.

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  • Vet's Corner

    hairballs coughing

    The lowdown on hairballs

    It's completely natural (even if it does sound a little alarming!) for your cat to cough up a hairball every now and then. But can it ever be a problem? Petplan vet Brian Faulkner answers our questions on the furball facts, and explains the symptoms to watch out for.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    communication

    Your body language through your dog’s eyes

    Has your pet ever become happy, excited or sheepish… before you’ve even said a word? That’s because dogs are as responsive to your body language as they are to your tone of voice. Here’s how your dog perceives those silent signals and how you can use them to help change his behaviour in positive ways.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    love behaviour

    10 Signs Your Cat Loves You

    We often expect our feline friends to show us love in the ways that we’re used to – and then feel a bit disappointed when they don’t always appreciate our cuddles. But don’t despair, your cat has her own way of showing you affection. Here’s how you can better understand her behaviour:

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  • Vet's Corner

    head tilt illness

    What you need to know about head tilt in rabbits

    Head tilt may sound like a cute bunny quirk but, as Petplan vet Brian Faulkner explains, it can point to serious health issues. Here, he shares his advice on spotting the signs, and explains the steps you should take to help your rabbits.

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  • Vet's Corner

    teeth dental

    Four steps to healthy teeth

    Rabbits are prone to dental issues, but it’s often easy to miss the signs. So we’ve rounded up expert advice on how to maintain your rabbits’ dental health and spot the symptoms when there’s a problem.

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  • Vet's Corner

    cold symptoms cold treatment colds

    Does your dog have a cold?

    Winter usually brings on a case of the sniffles for most of us – but can your dog be affected in the same way? Petplan vet Brian Faulkner has the answers.

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  • Vet's Corner

    microchip tag tagging

    Should all cats be microchipped?

    In April, it will have been a year since it became a legal requirement for all dogs to have a microchip – something that’s helped to reunite 75% of missing pooches with their owners. We explore the case around whether similar measures should be put in place for cats.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health vets

    Staying young at heart

    As dogs age, they slow down and become less responsive. Which means you need to get creative. Here, dog behaviour expert Sharon Bolt of good-dogs.co.uk suggests four gentle ways in which you can enhance the quality of your dog’s life in his golden years

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  • Vet's Corner

    cold symptoms cold treatment colds

    Does your cat have a cold?

    Winter usually brings on a case of the sniffles for most of us – but can your cat be affected in the same way? Petplan vet Brian Faulkner has the answers.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    fearful rabbit

    Fearful bunny behaviours explained

    Rabbits in the wild survive by avoiding predators, and your pet bunnies have the same instincts. Here are some of the everyday things that frighten them, and how you can help them overcome those fears.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    personality changes

    Doggy personality changes

    As your dog gets older, he’s bound to change physically, but can his personality shift, too? Certified clinical animal behaviourist Claire Hargrave lists four changes that are common in dogs, and shares her tips for keeping your pet mentally healthy.

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  • Vet's Corner

    rabbit skin health

    Bunny health- common skin conditions

    Did you know that your rabbits’ skin and fur can be a good indicator of their overall health? Petplan vet Brian Faulkner explains what certain conditions may be telling you about your bunnies’ wellbeing, and how you can keep them in tip-top health.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    fussy cat

    What’s up, fussy cat?

    Does it feel as though your cat has become more and more choosy about what she eats? Or are you worried that she always seems to be scrounging for extras? Clinical animal nutritionist Marjorie Chandler addresses these concerns and shares tips on how best to feed your feline.

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  • Vet's Corner

    vet visits check-up health

    How to make vet visits go smoothly

    Cats like to have control over their environment so can be stressed by a trip to the vet. However, there are ways to minimise their discomfort. Pet behaviourist Claire Hargrave advises on how to make your kitten’s introduction to the vet as calm and stress-free as possible.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas presents gifts

    What I'd buy my bunny for Christmas

    How better to celebrate the joy that your pets bring you, than by giving them a festive treat? To help you find the perfect present, we´ve asked three experts for their top recommendations on fun, safe and healthy gifts for your furry friend.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health check-up

    Rabbit Health: Five Tips for Bouncier Bunnies

    Healthy, happy rabbits need plenty of space to run around in and the opportunity to behave as they would in the wild. Here, the Rabbit Welfare Association (RWAF) shares some useful tips on keeping your bunnies bouncing with good health.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    body language

    Rabbit Body Language

    Recognising certain bunny behaviours can help you to understand what your rabbit is feeling. Mel Tibbs looks at three classic signals bunnies use to communicate, and explains what they mean.

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  • Vet's Corner

    food diet nutrition feeding

    Rabbit Food and Nutrition

    The snacking habits of Bugs Bunny and Peter Rabbit are not to be copied! Deirdre Vine offers nutritional guidance about the sort of nibbles rabbits should get their teeth into for a healthy hop, skip and jump.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    lazy

    Do I Have a Lazy Rabbit?

    Rabbits are sociable and like to keep active. A bored bunny can become destructive and even depressed. Mel Tibbs explores some top tips to keep your rabbit happy and engaged and your carpet intact!

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  • Vet's Corner

    food diet nutrition feeding health

    Rabbit Diet and Health

    Vets report that four out of five rabbits coming into practice have a health problem that is directly related to poor diet, such as obesity, overgrown teeth and constipation. The good news is that many of these are easily prevented once we understand a bit more about what our pet rabbits should be eating and why.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas DIY presents gifts

    DIY Christmas gifts for your bunnies

    Make the festive season special for your rabbits with these three safe and easy-to-make Christmas presents, perfect for bunnies.

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  • Vet's Corner

    Eye care eyes

    Bunny eye care

    Bunnies should always have clear, healthy eyes, but even the healthiest, happiest rabbit can be prone to eye problems. Here’s what to look out for and how to keep your bunny bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    fur pulling

    Why is My Rabbit Pulling Fur Out?

    As a rabbit owner, you may be worried if you see your bunny pulling out her own fur. However, fur pulling or plucking is usually a normal behaviour, predominantly seen in female rabbits. Behaviourist Inga MacKellar takes us through three of the most common reasons for this puzzling habit.

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  • Vet's Corner

    rabbit care happy healthy

    Rabbit Care

    Our infographic is full of fun stats, fact and top tips about the wellbeing of our furry friends.

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather heat

    Rabbits in the Summer Heat

    Rabbits don’t handle heat especially well – it’s not as if they can slip out of their fur coats and fix themselves an iced drink. They can suffer from heat stress and become ill very quickly when exposed to high temperatures, so it’s our job as owners to provide relief from sunny weather.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour bonding

    Better bonding with your bunny

    Rabbits may not be as expressive as cats and dogs, but there are still lots of ways to recognise when they’re content. APBC-accredited animal behaviour counsellor Rosie Bescoby shares her expert advice on rabbit bonding.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    scared cucumbers reflections water

    3 scaredy-cat fears explained

    Trying to work out why your cat behaves in certain ways can be baffling. One of the strangest quirks to get to grips with has to be the feline fear of (seemingly) random things. To help you better understand what your pet is thinking, we’ve asked clinical animal behaviourist Rosie Bescoby to explain these phobias – and why they’re every bit as real and distressing as our own.

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  • Pet Life

    home safety

    Cat Home Safety

    Sadly, the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is rooted in truth – cats of all ages like to explore and play by chewing, and sometimes they consume things that are harmful to them. Vet Brian Faulkner provides expert advice on the household items that pose a threat to your cat’s wellbeing, from fish bones to antifreeze.

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  • Pet Life

    home safety

    Kitten Home Safety

    Naturally curious, kittens like to explore and play by chewing and biting. Sometimes, they consume things that are harmful to them. Vet Brian Faulkner provides expert advice on the household items that pose a threat to your kitten’s wellbeing, from string to slug pellets.

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  • Pet Life

    settling in new cat

    How to Settle a New Cat

    Welcoming a new cat into your home may be an exciting time for you, but it could take some weeks for your pet to feel truly at ease in their new environment. These simple steps will help make your cat feel relaxed, at home and one of the family.

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  • Vet's Corner

    vet visits vet clinic health

    Getting to the clinic

    Visits to the vet can be a worrying time for both you and your cat. Older pets can be especially anxious, so one way that you can help ease anxiety is by helping your moggy to become comfortable with the journey to the clinic in advance.

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  • Pet Life

    clean homes clean hutch

    Cleaner living conditions for your rabbit

    Following a few simple guidelines from the Rabbit Welfare Association will mean your bunny can live in comfort and stay in excellent health.

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  • Vet's Corner

    check-ups health

    Preparing for vet check-ups

    Even a routine check-up at the vet can be stressful for your feline friend. Behaviourist Inga MacKellar discusses some preparation strategies that can help make those all-important visits less difficult for anxious cats.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    spraying urine marking pee senior cat

    Senior Cat Spraying

    From strange smells to health problems, there are many different reasons why cats of all ages urine mark. Our animated video gives an insight into spraying and why our feline friends do it.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    spraying urine marking pee

    Why senior cats spray

    Urine marking – known as spraying in cats – can prove a common problem for owners. Behaviourist Inga MacKellar explains the reasons why older cats may spray and offers some advice for reducing it where it’s unwelcome

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    cat language

    Do you speak meow?

    We all know a purr from a hiss, but are you sure about the more subtle sounds? We have the inside scoop on cat communication that can be difficult to decipher, and tell you what it really means.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    hairballs coughing

    The lowdown on hairballs

    It’s completely natural (even if it does sound a little alarming!) for your cat to cough up a hairball every now and then. But can it be a problem as your cat gets older? Petplan vet Brian Faulkner answers our questions on the furball facts, and explains the symptoms to watch out for.

    Read more
  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour habits

    Understanding bad habits

    Many owners find that their cats have some curious or annoying behaviours that they expected to have been left behind in the kitten years. Behaviourist Inga MacKellar answers questions and provides sound advice on the reasons for, and ways to tackle, persistent ‘bad habits’.

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather

    Five summer healthcare tips for senior cats

    Help your pet enjoy sunny days in safety and comfort

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather

    Five summer healthcare tips for cats

    Help your pet enjoy sunny days in safety and comfort

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    body language tail language

    Cat Tail Language

    Cats are expressive, but can we really decipher what they’re saying? Feline body language can often be misinterpreted, so learning to read your cat’s postures and movements may help you to understand her moods and emotions. Justine Harding explores body language, focusing specifically on the tail.

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  • Pet Life

    home alone indoors

    Caring for your cat when you’re away

    Cats may seem independent, but they can become unhappy very quickly if their needs aren’t properly met when you go away on holiday. Choosing the right kind of care will give you peace of mind while you’re away.

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  • Pet Life

    food diet nutrition feeding

    Cat Food and Dietary Needs

    Whether you own a picky Persian or a ravenous Russian Blue, you’re not alone in worrying whether your cat is too greedy, too fussy, underweight or overweight. Whatever the breed, you need to be in the know about your cat’s nutritional needs and eating habits to ensure maximum health and fitness, and a sleek body shape that’s not carrying excess weight. Veterinary surgeon Daniel Chan, senior lecturer and head of nutritional support service at the Royal Veterinary College, answers some common questions on feline diet and weight.

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  • Vet's Corner

    check-up health

    Senior Cat Health Check

    As well as the annual dental checkup and booster vaccinations required by your insurance, it’s a good idea to have your cat looked at by the vet at least once a year. You can also play your part by regularly checking your cat’s eye, teeth, skin and joint health, as vet Brian Faulkner explains. These checks will help ensure that problems are detected and treated as early as possible.

    Read more
  • Pet Life

    Christmas health Xmas

    Senior Cats at Christmas

    Unsurprisingly, loud noises, festive foods and other temptations can all prove a bit much for older cats at Christmas. Watch Tinkerbell in our fun video, filled with useful tips on how to keep your feline friend safe and happy during the festive season.

    Read more
  • Behaviourist's Corner

    calming fireworks scared

    Three tried-and-tested ways to keep your cat calm during fireworks

    Have you ever wished you could ease your cat’s anxiety during fireworks season and the end-of-year festivities? We review three products that promise to help you do just that.

    Read more
  • Behaviourist's Corner

    outside roaming wandering off

    Understanding roaming behaviour

    Whether it’s a quick turn around the garden or a leisurely, late-night prowl, many of our feline friends seem inclined to go for a wander now and then. But what’s behind this urge to explore, and how can we help keep adventurous cats safe when they’re out and about? Kim Sullivan explains the facts about roaming.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour problems naughty

    Kitten Behaviour Problems

    Is the honeymoon period over? Has your once lovable ball of fur turned into a feisty claw machine? Our pet behaviourist Claire Hargrave addresses some common problems that owners of young cats encounter.

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  • Vet's Corner

    parasites fleas ticks infections

    Parasites in Cats

    Aside from making life extremely uncomfortable, parasites can cause severe health problems for your cat. Scratching and biting to relieve the itching can result in infection, while some pests also transmit serious diseases. Here is a guide to the most common parasitic infestations and how to manage them.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    fitness exercise healthy

    Kitten Fitness

    Young cats are naturally very playful and active – that is, when they are not cuddled up and snoozing. They love jumping, climbing, play fighting and running. Join in their fun and encourage them to stay active, fit and mentally stimulated as they grow.

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  • Vet's Corner

    cat care risks hazards outdoors

    Caring for Cats: Risks of the Outdoors

    The onset of warmer weather tempts many cats to spend more time outdoors. Exercise, fun and stimulation are among the benefits, but alfresco activity isn’t without risks. Deirdre Vine talks to Zaila Dunbar, Petplan’s Vet of the Year 2012, about the common hazards of outdoor exploits.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    communication

    Do you speak meow?

    We all know a purr from a hiss, but are you sure about the more subtle sounds? We have the inside scoop on cat communication that can be difficult to decipher, and why older cats are more likely to make a noise at night.

    Read more
  • Pet Life

    moving house

    Six essential tips for helping your cat move home

    Moving home can be a very stressful time for your cat, especially if she’s older and has been in the same environment for a long time. Here are some simple steps you can take to minimise disruption and help your feline friend to feel happy and comfortable in her new surroundings.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    lazy

    Why Have I Got a Lazy Cat?

    It’s cold and wintry outside – enough to make most cats slope back to the sofa for more snoozing. Here, Kim Sullivan gives five top tips to encourage your feline friend to wake up, get moving and stay fit during the winter months.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas health senior

    Cats at Christmas

    Unsurprisingly, loud noises, festive foods and other temptations can all prove a bit much for cats at Christmas. Watch Tinkerbell in our fun video, filled with useful tips on how to keep your feline friend safe and happy during the festive season.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    vaccination injection vaccine jab health

    Kitten Vaccinations

    Having your kitten vaccinated before he or she is three months old is very important. It’s an issue that can be confusing for a new cat owner, so follow our easy guide to the vaccinations, why they’re necessary and the myths that surround them.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    training

    Kitten training

    Training a cat may sound like a pointless or daunting task, but teaching your young cat to pay attention to you will make it easier to get them in safely at night (to avoid accidents on the road), and help you to bond.

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  • Vet's Corner

    check-up health senior

    Kitten Health Check

    Your kitten is coming up to one year old, so it’s a good time to line up the annual veterinary and dental check-up.

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  • Vet's Corner

    brush coat fur grooming senior

    Kitten Grooming

    Vet Brian Faulkner demonstrates how regular grooming is good for your kitten’s health, helping you spot fleas and other parasites as well as bumps and cuts. It can also avoid mats and tats causing discomfort to your cat. So, it’s just a case of getting him or her to stay still

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    healthy old age

    Help your cat enjoy her golden years

    Just like us, many cats will slow down a little as they get older. Here’s how to help your cat live life to the full, no matter what her age.

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  • Vet's Corner

    check-up healthy

    How to Keep Cats Healthy

    Whatever their age, cats need to keep active for their physical and mental wellbeing. Aileen Scoular explores ways to ensure your feline friend gets plenty of exercise.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    games playing

    Games to enrich your cat’s life

    It’s logical to think that as cats get older, we should minimise their playtime. However, pet experts recommend you do exactly the opposite, as games give your cat a sense of purpose and can help to keep her brain young. Read on for our top advice on the enrichment activities that can help your furry friend enjoy life to the fullest.

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  • Vet's Corner

    parasites infections fleas ticks

    Kitten parasite

    Aside from making life extremely uncomfortable, parasites can cause severe health problems for your kitten. Scratching and biting to relieve the itching can result in infection, while some parasites also transmit serious diseases. Here is a guide to the most common parasitic infestations and how to manage them.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    food diet nutrition feeding

    Senior Cat Food and Diet

    Why is it that pet food manufacturers make a distinction between adult and senior pet food? Nutritionist Marjorie Chandler explains the importance of getting your cat’s diet just right.

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  • Vet's Corner

    asthma

    Spotlight on Feline Asthma

    Cats of any age, breed or gender may develop respiratory conditions such as feline asthma. The condition, which occurs when the airways in the lungs are restricted, isn’t uncommon – an estimated 85,000 cats are affected in Britain – yet milder cases can often go undiagnosed for years. Petplan’s Vet of the Year 2013, Laura Pugh, explains what feline asthma is and how it can be treated.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    drinking habits

    Changes to drinking habits

    There are some things that you may not think to mention to your vet – your cat drinking more or less than normal is one of them. But Petplan vet Brian Faulkner says that if your cat’s drinking habits noticeably change with age, you shouldn’t ignore it. Here, he outlines three common health conditions related to changes in drinking habits.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas presents gifts DIY Xmas

    DIY Christmas gifts for your cat

    Christmas can be an unsettling time for your cat. Make the festive season special for her with these three safe and easy-to-make presents, perfect for your feline friend.

    Read more
  • Behaviourist's Corner

    clicker training

    Clicker training your cat

    Cats are well known for doing things on their own terms, but you might be surprised at how well yours will respond to simple clicker training. Our expert talks you through what it entails, and the steps you should follow.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas presents gifts Xmas

    What I'd buy my cat for Christmas

    How better to celebrate the joy that your pets bring you, than by giving them a festive treat? To help you pick the perfect present, we´ve asked the experts for their top recommendations on fun, safe and enjoyable gifts for your furry friend. Plus, an animal nutritionist weighs in on the best edible end-of-year indulgences.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour changes

    Changing Cat Behaviour

    What does it mean when your cat behaves a bit out of character? Behaviourist Inga MacKellar highlights three common changes that may occur as our feline friends age.

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  • Vet's Corner

    skin cancer

    What you need to know about skin cancer in cats

    The ‘C’ word is always a scary one, but the good news is that vets can often treat skin cancer successfully – as long as it’s promptly identified. We asked Petplan vet Brian Faulkner for his advice on preventing, spotting and treating this disease.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health check-up

    Cat Health Check

    As well as the annual dental checkup and booster vaccinations required by your insurance, it’s a good idea to have your cat looked at by the vet at least once a year. You can also play your part by regularly checking your cat’s eye, teeth, skin and joint health, as vet Brian Faulkner explains. These checks will help ensure that problems are detected and treated as early as possible.

    Read more
  • Pet Life

    brush coat fur grooming

    Cat Grooming

    Vet Brian Faulkner demonstrates how regular grooming is good for your cat’s health, helping you spot fleas and other parasites as well as bumps and cuts. It can also avoid mats and tats causing discomfort to your cat. So, it’s just a case of getting him or her to stay still...

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    fleas bites stings ticks

    Preventing and treating bites and stings

    Summertime means longer days and more time for your cat to explore, and laze about, outside. However, it also increases her chances of coming into contact with a range of biting beasties. Follow our expert tips to lessen the sting – or itch!

    Read more
  • Behaviourist's Corner

    calming fireworks scared

    Three tried-and-tested ways to keep your cat calm during fireworks

    Have you ever wished you could ease your cat´s anxiety during fireworks season and the end-of-year festivities? We review three products that promise to help you do just that.

    Read more
  • Pet Life

    outside alone outdoor dangers

    When Can Kittens Go Outside?

    There are many considerations to think about when you’re approaching your kitten’s first venture to the world outside the home. You need to think about the neighbourhood cats and the challenges and dangers they represent, whether you want more cats if you’ve decided not to neuter your kitten, and ensuring your kitten’s vaccinations are all up to date. But nothing beats seeing them starting to explore that world, as our video shows.

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  • Vet's Corner

    teeth dental

    Kitten Teeth

    Brushing keeps your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. It stops the build-up of plaque, tartar and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). It also helps to prevent many painful dental problems later on.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health basics

    Cat Health

    A cat is a happy addition to a home. As well as fun and love though, a pet brings a host of responsibilities for their health and wellbeing. Find out the key facts that will keep your cat in top condition and on track for a long and healthy life.

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  • Vet's Corner

    food diet nutrition feeding healthy

    Kitten Food: 5 Steps for Healthy Eating

    Your young cat’s food requirements change as they rapidly grow into an adult. Dr Marjorie Chandler, animal nutritionist, has compiled this guide to making sure your pet stays at a good weight and receives all the nutrients they need to become a healthy, happy and energetic cat...

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather heat

    Help your bunnies beat the heat

    As the temperature rises, so does the likelihood of your rabbits overheating. To help keep your bunnies cool and healthy this summer, we’ve rounded up our best heat-busting tricks.

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  • Vet's Corner

    brush coat fur grooming

    Hair necessities: what you need to know about rabbits and moulting

    You may have noticed that your fluffy friends have begun shedding their winter coats already, or perhaps they drop their fur all year round. Whatever the season, the amount of fur your rabbits lose can provide an insight into their overall wellbeing. Kim Sullivan lists a few things to look out for.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas health

    Rabbits at Christmas

    Flex your creative skills and share the Christmas cheer with your furry friend this year. Here, Mel Tibbs explains how to make three nutritious and delicious homemade bunny treats, perfect for the festive season.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    noises grunt squeal purr

    Do you speak bunny?

    Unlike dogs or cats, which make obvious efforts to ‘speak’ to us by barking or meowing, rabbits are generally quiet creatures. So how can we decode rabbit language to better understand what they’re feeling?

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  • Vet's Corner

    vet visits vet clinic check-up

    Getting to the clinic

    The journey to the vet need not be a traumatic experience for your rabbit, and with the right preparation, stress levels can be kept to a minimum for both of you

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  • Vet's Corner

    diet nutrition overweight underweight

    Rabbit Weight Issues

    There isn’t one perfect weight for rabbits – as with all pets, breed and size make a huge difference. In order to determine if a rabbit is a healthy weight, vets use a body condition scoring scale, which can easily be done at home following our step-by-step guide.

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  • Vet's Corner

    nutrition food healthy feed eating

    Puppy Food : 5 Steps for Healthy Eating

    Your puppy may look a lot bigger now than in his or her baby days, but your pet is still growing and needs a correctly balanced diet. Dr Marjorie Chandler, animal nutritionist, has compiled this guide to ensuring your pet gains all the nutrients needed to develop into a healthy, happy and energetic dog...

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    hump

    The embarrassing issue of humping

    Many dog owners will be familiar with the awkward scenario of their dog unexpectedly humping another dog, an inanimate object, or even a human leg. So why do dogs hump and should we do anything about it? Ross McCarthy, canine behaviourist of the London Dog Behaviour Company, answers some common questions on the subject

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  • Pet Life

    home safety

    Dog Home Safety

    Dogs like to chew all sorts of things given half a chance. Electrical cables, babies’ dummies and string are some of common items that can become stuck or cause problems to your dog’s digestive system. And other unsuitable objects such as slug pellets or chocolate can poison them. Vet Brian Faulkner explains the risks and the signs that your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have.

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  • Pet Life

    food poisonous healthy

    Puppy Home Safety

    Puppies like to chew all sorts of things given half a chance. Electrical cables, babies’ dummies and string are some of common items that can become stuck or cause problems to your puppy’s digestive system. And other unsuitable objects such as slug pellets or chocolate can poison them. Vet Brian Faulkner explains the risks and the signs that your young dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have.

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  • Vet's Corner

    vet visits health

    Getting to the clinic

    Visits to the vet can be a worrying time for both you and your dog. Older pets can be especially anxious, and one way that you can help ease anxiety is by helping your pooch to become comfortable with the journey to the clinic in advance.

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  • Vet's Corner

    vet visit health check-up

    How to make vet visits go smoothly

    The vet is one of the most important people in your puppy’s life so it pays to start the relationship on a positive footing and keep it that way. Animal behaviourist Claire Hargrave offers advice on how to make your puppy’s vet visits calm and stress-free – from the very first time.

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  • Vet's Corner

    vet visits check-up

    Preparing for vet check-ups

    Even a routine check-up at the vet can be stressful for your canine companion. Behaviourist Inga MacKellar discusses some preparation strategies that can help make those all-important visits less distressing for anxious dogs.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    peeing territory senior dog

    Senior Dogs Marking Their Territory

    From strange smells to health problems, there are many different reasons why dogs of all ages urine mark. Our animated video gives an insight into urine marking and why our canine companions do it.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    urine pee

    Why senior dogs urine mark

    Urine marking can prove a common problem for many dog owners. Behaviourist Inga MacKellar explains the reasons why older dogs might do it and offers some advice for tackling the issue where it’s unwelcome

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    language care

    Do you speak woof?

    From barking and growling to howling and whining, your dog has a wide and complex repertoire of sounds, and by varying their pitch and pace, he can convey many different meanings. How many do you understand?

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  • Pet Life

    walks exercise

    Dog Walking Reinvented

    Is your dog tired of the same old routine? How can you keep things fresh as well as suitable for his needs? Aileen Scoular explores some clever adjustments you can make to keep your dog moving.

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  • Pet Life

    holiday travel car journeys

    How to have a happy holiday with your dog

    Just as we can become less adventurous as we age, older dogs may be more reluctant to leave familiar surroundings than they used to be. Click on the map below to read some inspiring stories and tips from fellow owners that could help reignite that spirit of adventure.

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  • Pet Life

    travel what to take

    Travelling with your dog: an essential checklist

    Taking your dog on holiday with you can make your trip complete – but forgetting something vital for your pooch can make it a complete nightmare! We’ve compiled a list of travel items that are essential if you’re taking your dog with you on your break. Whether you’re camping or heading for a pet-friendly hotel, within the UK or abroad, these are the things you shouldn’t leave home without.

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather

    Seven summer healthcare tips for senior dogs

    Help your pet enjoy sunny days in safety and comfort

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather

    Seven summer healthcare tips for dogs

    Help your pet enjoy sunny days in safety and comfort

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    toilet training poo pee accidents

    Puppy Toilet Training

    Toilet training a dog may seem a daunting task but get it right and it sets the tone for the smooth running of the rest of your pet’s training. If your pup is still having a few accidents, read our trouble-shooting advice from pet behaviourist Claire Hargrave.

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  • Pet Life

    diet food nutrition

    Dog´s Diet

    Whether you own a picky Pug or a ravenous Rottweiler, you’re not alone in worrying whether your dog is too greedy, too fussy, underweight or overweight. Whatever the breed, you need to be in the know about your dog’s nutritional needs and eating habits to ensure maximum health and fitness, and a sleek body shape that’s not carrying excess weight. Veterinary surgeon Daniel Chan, senior lecturer and head of nutritional support service at the Royal Veterinary College, answers some common questions on canine diet and weight.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    dog language tail wagging

    Dog Tail Language

    What is your dog really saying when he wags? Canine body language can often be misinterpreted, and learning to read your dog’s postures and movements can help you to understand his moods and emotions, improving your relationship with him. Behaviour expert Ross McCarthy delves into the tale of the tail.

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  • Vet's Corner

    summer healthcare warm weather sun

    Keeping your dog safe in the sun

    Just like us, dogs can suffer from the effects of too much sun, with older dogs most at risk. Here, Zaila Dunbar, Petplan Vet of the Year 2012, has some advice for keeping your dog comfortable and well in hot weather.

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  • Vet's Corner

    skin cancer

    What you need to know about skin cancer in dogs

    The ‘C’ word is always a scary one, but the good news is that vets can often treat skin cancer successfully – as long as it´s promptly identified. We asked Petplan vet Brian Faulkner for his advice on preventing, spotting and treating this disease.

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  • Pet Life

    new dog settling in

    Bringing a New Dog Home

    It may be home-sweet-home to you, but if he or she has only recently moved in, your dog will need a little extra help from their new family to make them feel settled in their new environment. Give them a bit of time, lots of space, and plenty of strokes to help your new pet feel right at home.

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  • Vet's Corner

    check-up health

    Senior Dog Health Check

    As well as the annual dental checkup and booster vaccinations required by your insurance, it’s a good idea to have your dog looked at by the vet at least once a year. You can also play your part by regularly checking your dog’s eye, teeth, skin and joint health, as vet Brian Faulkner explains. These checks will help ensure that problems are detected and treated as early as possible.

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  • Vet's Corner

    illnesses instinct

    Doggy health: three reasons to trust your instincts

    Going with your gut feeling can be crucial when it comes to your dog’s health – especially as he gets older. Here, we share why not all changes should be dismissed as a part of ageing, and how important it is to act as you as you see symptoms.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas health

    Senior Dogs at Christmas

    Unsurprisingly, loud noises, festive foods and other temptations can all prove a bit much for older dogs at Christmas. Watch Rusty in our fun video, filled with useful tips on how to keep your canine companion safe and happy during the festive season.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    calming fireworks scared

    Three tried-and-tested ways to keep your senior dog calm during fireworks

    Have you ever wished you could ease your dog’s anxiety around fireworks season and the end of year festivities? We’ve reviewed three products that promise to help you do just that.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health check-up

    Puppy Health check

    As well as the annual dental checkup and booster vaccinations required by your insurance, it’s a good idea to have your dog looked at by the vet at least once a year. You can also play your part by regularly checking your dog’s eyes, teeth, skin and joint health, as vet Brian Faulkner explains. These checks will help ensure that problems are detected and treated as early as possible.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    brush coat fur grooming

    Puppy Grooming

    How often you groom your puppy will depend on his or her coat, but it is an important part of every dog’s routine. As vet Brian Faulkner demonstrates, it can help you spot fleas, bumps and cuts as well as skin problems – and will also help you bond with your puppy.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour problems

    Dog Behaviour Problems

    If your dog has been rehomed or came to you past the puppy stage, they may still display some behaviour quirks. Dogs often share a honeymoon period with a new owner only to have a few wobbles later on. Pet behaviourist Claire Hargrave addresses common issues for owners in the first year with their dog.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    communication

    Do you speak woof?

    From barking and growling to howling and whining, your dog has a wide and complex repertoire of sounds, and by varying their pitch and pace, he can convey many different meanings. We look at the canine vocabulary and explain why barking at night is worth further investigation.

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  • Vet's Corner

    exercise health healthy

    Dog Exercise

    It may be cold out there, but the start of the new year is a great time to explore some fresh and energetic activities with your dog. The aim is to help keep him fit and in great shape (in case he’s piled on a few Christmas pounds!), while honing his natural talents. Kim Sullivan highlights five of the best activities to try out.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas health senior

    Dogs at Christmas

    Unsurprisingly, loud noises, festive foods and other temptations can all prove a bit much for dogs at Christmas. Watch Rusty in our fun video, filled with useful tips on how to keep your canine companion safe and happy during the festive season.

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  • Vet's Corner

    vaccination injection vaccine jab health

    Puppy Vaccinations

    Having your pup vaccinated in the first 12 months is vitally important. Knowing how to approach the issue can be confusing for a new dog owner, so follow our easy guide to the vaccinations, why they’re necessary and the myths that surround them.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    games playing

    Games to enrich your dog’s life

    It’s logical to think that as older dogs slow down, we should minimise their exercise or games. However, pet experts recommend you do exactly the opposite: playing can help your pooch’s brain stay young and keep age-related problems at bay. Read on for our top advice on the enrichment activities that can help your dog enjoy life to the fullest.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour problems naughty

    Puppy Behaviour

    When your dog reaches his or her ‘teenage’ years, a few behaviour issues might creep in. Pet behaviourist Claire Hargrave addresses some common problems.

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  • Vet's Corner

    parasites pests fleas ticks

    Dog parasites

    Welcoming a new dog into your home can also lead to other not-so-welcome visitors. Parasites can lead to serious health problems so you should quickly establish a prevention regime. Vet Brian Faulkner describes the most common parasitic infestations and how to manage them.

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  • Vet's Corner

    parasites fleas ticks

    Puppy parasites

    Parasite problems can be experienced even when your dog is very young, says vet Brian Faulkner, so it’s crucial to start a regular prevention regime as soon as possible. Here is a reminder of the most common parasitic infestations and how to manage them.

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  • Vet's Corner

    grass seed injuries allergies

    Grass Seed Injuries in Dogs

    Most dog owners will have experienced the issues that the seasonal nasties grass seeds can inflict on our canine friends. Petplan Vet of the Year 2013, Laura Pugh, provides the low-down on what they are and explains how something so small can cause a rather big problem.

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  • Pet Life

    food nutrition diet feeding

    Senior Dog Food

    Why is it that pet food manufacturers make a distinction between adult and senior pet food? Nutritionist Marjorie Chandler explains the importance of getting your dog’s diet just right.

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  • Vet's Corner

    outside outdoors safety

    When Can Puppies go Outside?

    It should be at least two weeks after the second set of vaccinations before you let your puppy outside for the first time. Ideally, introduce them to the outdoors in an enclosed space or garden, which has been checked for potential hazards. Then, you’re all set to venture into the big world – just take it slowly as our video demonstrates.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    drinking habits

    Changes to drinking habits

    There are some things that you may not think to mention to your vet – your dog drinking more or less than normal is one such thing. But Petplan vet Brian Faulkner says that if your dog’s drinking habits noticeably change with age, you shouldn’t ignore it. Here, he outlines three common health conditions related to changes in drinking habits.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    training behaviour

    Puppy Training

    Getting your dog well trained can help establish a rewarding relationship. It’s also crucial for their safety. Pet behaviourist Claire Hargrave offers her top tips.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    recall training

    ‘Here, boy!’ – how to improve your dog’s recall

    Does your pooch have perfect hearing – except when it comes to his name? Our expert explains what recall training entails and why it’s so important. Plus, we outline three steps to help ensure your dog will soon be bounding back to you on command.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health check-up senior

    Dog Health Check

    As well as the annual dental checkup and booster vaccinations required by your insurance, it’s a good idea to have your dog looked at by the vet at least once a year. You can also play your part by regularly checking your dog’s eye, teeth, skin and joint health, as vet Brian Faulkner explains. These checks will help ensure that problems are detected and treated as early as possible.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    cancer illness disease heartworm

    Doggy health: three reasons to trust your instincts

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your dog could tell you that he wasn’t feeling well? Instead, you need to go with your gut whenever it seems as if your pet may be off-colour. Here, we share a real-life story and three reasons that show how important it is to follow your intuition and take action straight away.

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  • Vet's Corner

    brush coat hair grooming

    Dog Grooming

    How often you groom your dog will depend on his or her coat, but it is an important part of every dog’s routine. As vet Brian Faulkner demonstrates, it can help you spot fleas, bumps and cuts as well as skin problems – and will also help you bond with your dog.

    Read more
  • Vet's Corner

    fleas sting parasite bite

    Preventing and treating bites and stings

    Summertime means longer days and more time spent outdoors on walks, or playing with your pooch in the garden. However, it also increases your dog’s chances of coming into contact with a range of biting beasties. Follow our expert tips to lessen the sting – or itch!

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    fireworks calming scared

    Three tried-and-tested ways to keep your dog calm during fireworks

    Have you ever wished you could ease your dog’s anxiety around fireworks season and the end of year festivities? We’ve reviewed three products that promise to help you do just that.

    Read more
  • Pet Life

    Christmas presents gifts DIY Xmas

    DIY Christmas gifts for your dog

    Christmas can be an unsettling time for dogs, especially as they get older. Make the festive season special for your pooch with these safe and easy-to-make presents.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas present gifts Xmas

    What I´d buy my dog for Christmas

    How better to celebrate the joy that your pets bring you, than by giving them a festive treat? To help you find the perfect present, we´ve asked two experts for their top recommendations on fun, safe and enjoyable gifts for your furry friend. Plus, an animal nutritionist weighs in on the best edible end-of-year indulgences.

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  • Pet Life

    Christmas presents gifts Xmas

    What I'd buy my dog for Christmas

    How better to celebrate the joy that your pets bring you, than by giving them a festive treat? To help you find the perfect present, we´ve asked two experts for their top recommendations on fun, safe and enjoyable gifts for your furry friend. Plus, an animal nutritionist weighs in on the best edible end-of-year indulgences.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    behaviour changes

    Why Does Dog Behaviour Change?

    What does it mean when your dog starts acting a bit out of character? Behaviourist Inga MacKellar highlights three common behaviour and personality changes that may occur as our canine companions age.

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  • Behaviourist's Corner

    activity monitor exercise health

    Can an activity monitor help keep your dog healthy?

    Exercise is one of the best ways to ensure your dog’s wellbeing throughout his life – but how can you tell if he’s getting enough, or whether he might be overdoing it for his age? To see if technology can help you to find the right balance for your pet, we put a PitPat activity monitor to the test.

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  • Vet's Corner

    arthritis

    Arthritis in Dogs

    Arthritis (the inflammation of one or more joints) is common in both humans and dogs, especially as we age. Vet Brian Faulkner explains what arthritis is, how to recognise the signs and how it can be managed.

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  • Vet's Corner

    health check-up

    Dog Health

    Having a new dog in your home brings happiness, as well as a host of responsibilities for their wellbeing. Be sure you know the key health tips that will keep your dog in the best condition and on track for a long life...

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  • Vet's Corner

    dog health weight obese

    A Healthy Weight

    Keep track of the healthy weight for your pet by watching the body-conditioning scoring video below – you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs and see their waist. Carrying too much weight can lead to problems such as arthritis or diabetes.

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  • Vet's Corner

    teeth dental

    Puppy Teeth

    Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly will help prevent painful dental problems later on. But it needn’t be a chore and can actually be an enjoyable time for both of you. Vet Brian Faulkner explains how to do it.

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