New boss appointed by Pets at Home on basic £580k salary
Pets at Home Group has announced the appointment of Lyssa McGowan as Group Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 June 2022. Receiving a basic salary of £580,000 per year, she will succeed Peter Pritchard, who announced his intention last November to step down from his role...
Pets at Home Group has announced the appointment of Lyssa McGowan as Group Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 June 2022.
Lyssa will succeed Peter Pritchard, who announced his intention last November to step down from his role in Summer 2022 and will remain with the business until 31 May 2022 to ensure a seamless transition. Lyssa will be appointed to the Board as CEO Designate on 25 April 2022 prior to her appointment as CEO on 1 June 2022.
She will receive a basic salary of £580,000 per year which reflects the outgoing CEO’s salary for FY21 of £550,000 with an increase of 5.5%, applied. This is broadly in line with the average salary increase awarded to the wider workforce in October 2021. An annual bonus maximum award of 170% of base salary has also been offered.
Lyssa is the outgoing Chief Consumer Officer at Sky UK Limited, with responsibility for the Consumer business serving more than 10 million customers and achieving over $10bn of revenue. Over the last 11 years, Lyssa has led numerous business units to growth within Sky, both organically and through M&A. She has broad experience of managing product, service and subscription-led businesses, leveraging deep capabilities in new product and service innovation, omnichannel development, marketing and customer experience excellence, and data and digital transformation.
Lyssa was a non-executive director of the Board of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc until its recent sale to CD&R.
Ian Burke, Chairman of Pets at Home, commented: “On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Lyssa as CEO of Pets at Home Group Plc. Lyssa brings strong corporate, strategic and operational expertise across a range of consumer-facing businesses, and a proven track record of growth at Sky, with significant experience in customer and digital-first initiatives across multiple channels and sites.”
“Following an extensive search process across internal and external candidates, the Board believes that Lyssa has the requisite skills and capabilities to lead Pets at Home as it executes its future growth strategy. Lyssa’s commercial and strategic experience will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Pets at Home and I very much look forward to working with her.”
Lyssa McGowan said: “I am thrilled to be joining Pets at Home as CEO. It is a fantastic business with a unique, integrated business model, and a strong purpose-led culture fuelled by the shared passion of over 15,000 colleagues and Partners to care for pets, and the people who love them. I am excited to work with the Board and Executive Management Team to lead Pets at Home on its journey to being the best pet care business in the world.”
Ethical pet firm HOWND has pledged to keep developing its range of plant-based products despite a leading veterinary association claiming that the ‘jury is still out’ on vegan diets.
“We will continue creating complete plant-based products which offer real health benefits for dogs,” said Jo Amit, co-founder of award-winning HOWND.
“We want to educate pet parents on the benefits of plant-base nutrition and hope to reduce the number of dogs who suffer from allergies."
Jo, pictured above with co-founder Mark Hirschel, added: “Ultimately, we want to be a leading brand that focuses on health and well-being while playing an important role in reducing animal cruelty and damage to our already fragile planet.”
Tremendous interest has been shown in HOWND’s Plant Powered Superfood following the success of the company’s plant-based Hemp Wellness treats.
But this week Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association, posted concerns about plant-based diets for dogs on the organisation’s website.
“From the veterinary profession’s perspective, there just isn’t enough scientific evidence currently to safely promote a vegan diet for dogs and cats,” she said.
“For now, the bottom line is that the jury is still very much out as to whether we should be feeding our pets a vegan diet.
“What we know is that your pet needs a balanced diet that is tailored for their age, health, weight and lifestyle. My advice is to always talk to your vet before changing any aspect of your pet’s diet – problems can result from all sorts of non-traditional diets, including vegan diets but also raw meat diets, feeding bones, and home-made diets.
“Current advice may change as new research takes place – the veterinary profession will continue to review all new evidence so that our advice is based on robust science.”
There has been a lot of media interest around the suitability of vegan diets for dogs, with some newspaper headlines warning dog owners could face hefty fines for putting their pets on a veggie diet.
But Jo Amit believes the recent media coverage has helped raise awareness of vegan diets for pets.
“This was an attempt at fake news by meat lobbyists,” she said. “There was a warning of fines if people did not feed their pets ‘suitable diets’ – in other words, vegan or vegetarian food that was not complete. The ‘Jail-Fine’ headline actually backfired, leading to a 90% surge in online searches for vegan/vegetarian dog food in both the UK and US, resulting in increased exposure for all plant powered food brands. So thanks to the lobbyists for the PR.”
One leading figure who believes in the benefits of plant-based diets for pets is Andrew Knight, a veterinary professor of animal welfare.
He said: “The environmental and animal welfare impacts of animal-based pet foods are substantial, and increasingly of concern to consumers. However, there is no scientific or practical reason why diets cannot be formulated entirely from plant, mineral and nutritional additives to meet all the nutrient requirements for dogs, and indeed, other species.
“Pet food companies are to be commended for creating such nutritionally sound alternatives, which safeguard the health not only of companion dogs, but also ‘food’ animals and the environment.”
Change at the top for leading pet company
Forthglade, the Devon-based natural pet food maker, has appointed David Cox as new CEO. Initial investors Chris Brooking and Gerard Lovell, who helped shape the business over the past 11 years, have stepped down as joint managing directors while remaining investors in the business alongside the company’s senior management team...
Forthglade, the Devon-based natural pet food maker, has appointed David Cox as new CEO. Initial investors Chris Brooking and Gerard Lovell, who helped shape the business over the past 11 years, have stepped down as joint managing directors while remaining investors in the business alongside the company’s senior management team.
David joins from food manufacturer Symington’s, where he was CEO for three years. During his time there he led the business through a successful turnaround, reshaped strategy, and delivered a successful sale transaction from Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) to Newlat Foods.
“I’m delighted to be joining the Forthglade team at such an exciting time for the business,” said David. “With an increasing demand for quality natural pet food and following strategic investments across production processes, operations and marketing, the business is in fantastic shape for an exciting year ahead.
“Forthglade has doubled turnover in the past four years and we plan to build on that momentum, doubling again over the next three years. With an extensive range of NPD launching this year, we’re looking forward to continuing to partner with our trade customers to help bring our natural recipes to life for pet owners”.
Since 1971 Forthglade has produced award-winning recipes valued by customers for their natural ingredients, high meat content, gentle cooking methods, and grain free recipes.
The natural products for dogs include wet food, dry cold pressed recipes and a wide selection of treats, which are distributed across supermarkets, online retailers, independent specialist pet retailers and Forthglade’s own website.
The company employs over 170 people in the UK, the majority of which are based at the manufacturer’s state-of-the-art factory situated on the edge of Dartmoor.
Gerard Lovell commented: “Being Joint MD of Forthglade for the past 11 years has been a privilege. We’ve been innovators and leaders in the growth of natural pet food in a category that has expanded beyond recognition.
“Our passion to produce natural and wholesome food for dogs has never faltered. But none of this would have been possible without the support of an amazing team.
“During the period we have also secured two rounds of private equity investment which has given us the confidence to be bold and invest in the Forthglade brand and our manufacturing resources.
“We have no doubt that David will continue to successfully drive the business forward, ensuring that happy healthy dogs are at the heart of what we do.”
David Cox joined Symington’s after spending almost two years as MD at Fox’s Biscuits and four years at General Mills, latterly as European MD. He previously worked at Tesco as a category director and spent 12 years at Unilever.
Wales-based business Clydach Farm has been awarded the Made in the UK award for GBEA Wales at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
In partnership with Starling Bank, the ceremony was held at Grosvenor House in London and saw 159 entrepreneurs across the UK recognised for their entrepreneurial stories and achievements.
Clydach Farm is the triumph of young Welsh poultry farmer Callum Griffiths. The company makes grain free, real food for dogs.
The Great British Entrepreneur Awards launched in 2012 to celebrate the best of British enterprise, inviting founders from across the UK to apply with their entrepreneurial success stories.
The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts and leaders of influential UK businesses, including some of the prizewinners from previous years.
Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, spoke highly of the entrepreneurial talent coming out of this year’s cohort: “It was fantastic to hear so many inspiring business stories after a difficult few years, and even better to have been able to invite all of our finalists to the in-person ceremony and celebrate together.
“With more than 1,200 attending, the evening was a real snapshot of the UK economy. The winners were thoroughly deserving, overcoming some stiff competition from their fellow finalists, and we look forward to welcoming them into our alumni community and seeing what they do next. It’s always exciting to watch our previous winners go on to achieve amazing things and I don’t expect any less from this year’s award recipients, who we will support all the way.”
Anne Boden MBE, founder of Starling Bank, headline partner of the Awards, said: “It is fantastic to see these worthy individuals being celebrated through these awards. We wish all the shortlisted businesses the best of luck with their future endeavours during these changing times.”
Guests also heard the story of Phones4U founder, John Caudwell, as he announced a new award category and partnership between the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and his charity, Caudwell Children. John said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate businesses and entrepreneurs that are flourishing and making a success of themselves.
“The Great British Entrepreneur Awards has developed a growing community of like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs, which was the perfect platform for me to launch my Blaze Your Own Trail award. I’m incredibly excited about the partnership we have established, both for the new award and my charity.”
Fresh dog food company Butternut Box has launched a series of billboards across the UK as part of its #DogsDeserveBillboards competition.
Hosted on social media, entrants were asked to submit a photo or video of their pet pooch and include a caption explaining why they deserve to be on a national billboard.
A total of 101 winners were selected to attend a luxury photoshoot which resulted in their dogs’ faces being displayed on eye-catching billboards in Edinburgh and Nottingham. The winners (as pictured) included pups Ruby, Baloo, Loki and Freyja, Malbec, and Scooby and Drew.
In addition, a top 10 ‘People’s Pup’ shortlist was chosen by an exclusive panel of judges, which included radio DJ Scott Mills and dog training guru Steve Mann.
One winner was then selected by Butternut Box’s social media followers to win a year’s supply of Butternut, while the remaining 91 winning dogs in the competition were all selected at random.
This creative competition was designed with dogs in mind, championing Butternut Box’s ethos that all dogs deserve better, including better chances of getting their furry faces showcased on billboards across the nation.
Christy McCormick, head of brand and creative at Butternut Box, said: “We’ve had an overwhelming response to our #DogsDeserveBillboards competition, with customers sharing fun and adorable snaps and videos of their pets.
“We're delighted to be able to bring a smile to dog lovers' faces with our billboards.”
The pet parents of Levi commented: “We’ve really enjoyed being a part of the #dogsdeservebillboards project, the meet & greet team in Birmingham stood out as being really welcoming and inclusive. It’s not every day you get to take part in a photoshoot, so we loved that we were all able to come along, see the setup and meet the team.
“Seeing Levi up on the big posterboard was especially exciting – a fantastic way to welcome in 2022. The whole experience exceeded all our expectations and reflect the reasons we chose Butternut Box in the first place – because dogs and their families, deserve better.”
For more information on Butternut Box please visit: https://butternutbox.com/
PetQuip has reached an agreement with the organisers of Superzoo to host a pavilion for UK firms for the first time at the Las Vegas show, which takes place on 22-25 August 2022.
The PetQuip team will offer a comprehensive package of export advice, market information, logistical support and promotion before, during and after the event to all participants in the pavilion.
Superzoo is the most-attended pet industry trade show in North America, attracting around 10,000 buyers, over 1,000 of whom are from outside the US.
Just over half the attendees are bricks and mortar pet shops and internet retailers, while other visitors include wholesalers, distributors, gift and specialty buyers, groomers and importers.
The overall exhibit area is 300,000 sq ft and there are around 1,200 exhibitors.
The show features a large education programme and around 850 products are entered in the large New Product Showcase. It covers every aspect of pet retail – fashion and high-end accessories, natural and eco-friendly products, grooming supplies plus small animal and aquatic products.
The organisers also run a comprehensive entertainments package for their visitors and many attend to enjoy networking with their contemporaries at special events such as the show concert, which saw REO Speedwagon featuring in 2019.
The US market is the largest in the world for pet products with the American Pet Producers’ Association (APPA) estimating overall sales at $103.6 billion in 2020.
- Pet Food & Treats $42.0 billion
- Supplies, Live Animals & OTC Medicine $22.1 billion
- Vet Care & Product Sales $31.4 billion
- Other Services $8.1 billion
According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of US households own a pet, which equates to 90.5 million homes and APPA estimates the dog and cat populations at over 90 million each. The market is huge and pet products are sold not just through the big specialty pet store chains and independents but also in supermarkets, general retailers, feed and seed and country stores, plus some garden centres, through webshops, online marketplaces, mail order and many other retail sectors.
For more information about exhibiting as part of the British group, email Katiefirstname.lastname@example.org or chat to Pat Flynn on 07778 313623. If you would like more information about dealing with the USA, contact Charlie Parker by email email@example.com
For details of PetQuip membership email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.petquip.com
Pet food firm brings 'hope' to coral reef restoration
Through one of its most well-known brands Sheba, Mars Petcare is marking the launch of its latest purpose-driven campaign with a £1.25m investment in in-store and online support across all channels to raise maximum awareness among new and existing shoppers to the brand...
Through one of its most well-known brands Sheba, Mars Petcare is marking the launch of its latest purpose-driven campaign with a £1.25m investment in in-store and online support across all channels to raise maximum awareness among new and existing shoppers to the brand.
Over the past 13 years, Mars Petcare has worked with community ambassadors on coral reef restoration and as a result, more than 285,000 coral fragments have been planted and 19,000 reef stars have been installed to date, all using locally sourced materials.
Sheba built the reef to visibly spell out the word HOPE from the seabed, using restored coral as a symbol to show the world how positive change can happen within our lifetime. The creation of the Sheba Hope Reef programme brings an important issue to the forefront among pet lovers and beyond, serving as a hub for training others as well, including reef builders, ambassadors and staff at national parks, NGOs, and governments, so that the project can grow elsewhere.
Kim Smet, Interim General Manager at Mars Petcare, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of our efforts at Mars Petcare to create ‘A Better World for Pets’ and that’s why we’re committed to sustainably source 100% of the fish used in our pet food recipes. However, sustainable fishing depends on the seas’ resources and this can only be achieved by supporting these incredible natural assets.
“It’s important to us that we share our journey with our loyal customers and consumers, and we aim to do this through our in-store and online activation. In order to drive long term success, we need consumer support in watching our ‘Film That Grows Coral’ to raise vital funds. Fish is an important ingredient that allows us to provide pet owners with healthy, nutritious and high-quality pet food, and we know that sourcing practices are increasingly important to shoppers. This campaign will highlight our commitments and the action we’re taking to drive change.”
Running until March, in-store point of sale materials will be available to help retailers across all channels spread the word on Sheba Hope Reef. In-store activation and media support will encourage new and existing shoppers to support the campaign through their choice of purchase and watching the campaign video online.
The funding generated from the video views will be donated to the Sheba campaign partner, The Nature Conservancy, to support coral restoration projects.
Vital supports independent pet trade with catalogue revamp
Vital Pet Group has launched its new and improved pet product catalogue for 2022. The fresh monthly catalogue content has been constructed based on feedback from a previous Vital survey, which was completed by more than 100 readers from the retail world...
Vital Pet Group has launched its new and improved pet product catalogue for 2022. The fresh monthly catalogue content has been constructed based on feedback from a previous Vital survey, which was completed by more than 100 readers from the retail world.
Going forward, every Vital issue will be bursting with new product roundups, editorial and educational features, as well as the previous regular offerings of exciting new product listings and the best monthly deals and promotions.
These new articles have been included in the catalogue with the aim of assisting retail managers and their staff to further expand their product offerings and strengthen their market knowledge to better anticipate industry trends, ensuring they bring in relevant and popular brands and products to successfully grow their sales.
The various features will also include selling tips, tools and advice to help retailers to upskill their teams and build their profits. These compelling, retail-focused articles will be written by the Vital veterinary team and expert marketeers will also feature in the catalogue, to ensure readers are kept up to date with all the latest expert knowledge and retail information.
When asked what features they would like to see in the new catalogue, the majority of retailers surveyed asked for the inclusion of articles that cover topics such as nutrition and pet care advice, as well as merchandising and general retail tips and marketing insights from pet trade industry experts.
The catalogue also includes comprehensive brand and product information to help pet shop owners and managers upskill their teams and boost their sales – a feature requested by a whopping 75% of retailers surveyed.
Chesney Webb, editor of the Vital Pet catalogue, said: “We are really proud of our new and improved catalogue, and we are so grateful to everyone who responded to our survey helping us shape the way we communicate the most up to date products to our loyal readers.”
To celebrate the special bond that homeless people around the county share with their dogs, the Street Paws charity is selling special Valentine's gift sets to help raise much-needed funds.
All of the money raised will go towards funding Street Paws' work, in supporting homeless people and their dogs in the North of England and Northern Ireland.
This includes the Dog Champions Scheme, which supports homeless hostels to become pet friendly so that people do not have to choose between their dog and a safe place to sleep.
There are two Valentine's Day packs to choose from:
- One contains a special Street Paws paw balm and a Street Paws Printed treat bag - price £10
- The second pack contains Street Paws paw balm and a Street Paws Derpy Dog collar, and is priced at £15. Free Bag of Brewskis treats whilst stocks last.
Both are available at www.streetpaws.co.uk where dog lovers can also buy a special e-card for £2.
Every e-card sale will buy a Charity dog tag for a homeless person's dog, which contains Street Paws contact numbers incase the dog becomes lost or separated,
Michelle Southern, founder of Street Paws, said: "The dogs that Street Paws support really are the ultimate companion for the homeless people who look after them.
"That bond is so loving and strong, and that is why this Valentine's Day we hope that people would like to treat their own pet, and help Street Paws at the same time."
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Grove Pet Foods bought by Cranswick
Cranswick has acquired the Lincolnshire-based dry dog food producer Grove Pet Foods Ltd, with the deal being announced on Monday (January 31)...
Cranswick has acquired the Lincolnshire-based dry dog food producer Grove Pet Foods Ltd, with the deal being announced on Monday (January 31).
Grove Pet Foods Ltd is the home of the Alpha Feeds and Vitalin brands.
Cranswick, based in East Yorkshire, said the acquisition would allow it to expand into the UK pet food market, and open up opportunities for vertical integration, particularly with its fresh poultry and pork businesses.
Adam Couch, CEO of Cranswick, said: "I am delighted to announce the acquisition of Grove Pet Foods, a well-invested manufacturer of dry pet food supplying leading brands focussed on the specialist pet retail market.
“This acquisition represents a platform for future growth in the attractive UK pet food market and diversification into this complementary category for Cranswick. The existing facility has capacity and a footprint for further expansion."
Grove Pet Foods managing director John Walgate will continue to lead the business.
Defra has reviewed its guidance for local authority inspectors in England on licensing activities involving animals.
The guidance explains the conditions that businesses need to meet in order to receive an animal activities licence. These conditions took effect from Tuesday (February 1).
This guidance covers:
- dog breeding
- pet selling
- hiring out horses
- boarding for dogs and cats
- home boarding for dogs
- dog day care
- keeping or training animals for exhibition
The guidance can be found here:
The Pet Industry Federation hosted a successful webinar to introduce details of a new export solution for UK pet businesses, who want to sell their products to customers into the EU.
Run in partnership with DHL Supply Chain and Associated Veterinary Services, the event revealed a range of solutions to help companies overcome the huge export challenges they have been facing and open up the European gateway once again in a cost effective and reliable way. The intention is that the solutions would enable companies to send pet related products, including animal proteins, bird and small animal products, supplements and accessories into EU countries.
The webinar outlined three potential consolidation options to the 40 plus delegates who attended, including fully managed groupage solutions with export health certificates and fiscal representation co-ordinated centrally; a solution which would allow larger companies to be part of co-ordinated consignments and handle their own export documentation; and full truckload solutions handled through DHL’s network of warehouses.
Nigel Baker, PIF CEO, explained: “We were delighted in the level of interest from attendees in the export solutions outlined at our export webinar. It is clear that exporters have been hard hit by the changes that Brexit has brought about and there are now huge levels of uncertainty and confusion around export paperwork, as well as a lack of consistency across different EU countries in terms of their requirements that make exporting to the EU increasingly challenging.
“The Pet Industry Federation is really pleased to have worked alongside DHL Supply Chain and Associated Veterinary Services to develop a range of potential solutions which we believe will enable the UK pet industry to get exporting again.”
The interest from its webinar means that the organisation intends to focus its resources on moving these export solutions forward as quickly as possible with companies who are ready to proceed.
In order to achieve this, PIF has taken the decision to postpone its international virtual trade show, Virtual Petindex, which was due to take place from 27 February until 7 March, until later in 2022. Such a move will enable PIF to be in a position to not just deliver international customers to UK suppliers, but to have a complementary export solution in place alongside it to enable orders made at VPI to be more easily fulfilled.
If you are interested in finding out more about PIF’s export solution, or to request a recording of the webinar if you were unable to attend, please contact Alexandra Baker at Alexandra.email@example.com for further details.
Man fined for pet store theft
A thief who stole dog food from a Pets at Home store and assaulted a police officer has been fined for the offences...
A thief who stole dog food from a Pets at Home store and assaulted a police officer has been fined for the offences.
Luke Clements, aged 37, was ordered to pay £120 for assaulting the police officer and fined £80 for stealing dog food worth £65.47 for the Pets at Home store in Swindon. He pleaded guilty.
The offences took place in December.
Su-Bridge releases natural treats range
Su-Bridge Pet Supplies has recognised a gap in the market for an all-natural pet treat range that drives down the high cost to consumers, while meeting the required needs of a competitive margin...
Su-Bridge Pet Supplies has recognised a gap in the market for an all-natural pet treat range that drives down the high cost to consumers, while meeting the required needs of a competitive margin.
The Pure & Natural range includes all natural treat favourites like Lamb Ears, Beef Pizzle and Paddywack, along with some sought-after lines such as Dried Camel Skin, and Chicken Feet.
The range minimizes the amount of packaging needed to maximize shelf space, allowing for a greater product range to be stocked.
Pure & Natural consists of 46 products in a varied range of natural dog treats, which come in both easy to hang clear packaging, and 1kg display boxes, giving the customer an exciting range of options to suit dogs of all breeds and sizes.
“We have produced an incredible range of high quality, natural, and superior choice of treats that meets everything required for the needs of our customers, and their customers,” said national sales manager Lynne Hopwood.
Pure & Natural dog treats start at just £1.04 with an RRP of £1.89, which equals great value for the customer, and a competitive margin for retailers.
For more information on Pure & Natural visit www.su-bridge.co.uk .
Canine first aid educator Rachel Bean and dog expert Diane Hannon will sleep overnight in the Dog E Dayz daycare facility in Failsworth, to raise much needed funds for the Street Paws charity.
The pair will set up a camp in the play area at the centre, and are inviting donors to decide exactly where they should sleep in the cold building.
"This is the second time we have slept out for charity, and last time I ended up sleeping on a trampoline! It sounds comfortable, but it's actually freezing cold." Said Diane, who also is the owner of Dog E Dayz, which cares for beloved pets while their owners are at work.
Diane was inspired to create the One Paw 2 Another challenge for Street Paws, after speaking with pal Rachel, who is a qualified veterinary nurse.
Rachel is the Manchester coordinator for Street Paws, and dedicates spare time to helping the pets of homeless people on the streets of the city.
She is a qualified veterinary nurse, and wrote the iPET Network course on canine first aid, which she delivers at training sessions around the UK.
Diane, who will bring along French bulldog Brook for support on the night of the challenge, added: "We have done quite a lot for charity in the past but never for Street Paws, and particularly at this time of year it really hits home how awful it must be for people living on the streets.
"What Street Paws does for homeless people and their pets is amazing, and we are proud to be doing something to support that work."
Diane and Rachel's big sleep out takes place on February 12, and they hope that people will visit their Facebook event page and sponsor their challenge.
Rachel from Grotton, who will be kept company on the night by her Labrador Chilli (pictured), said: "It won't be the most comfortable of nights, but whatever we can do to raise funds and awareness of the work of Street Paws is all worth it.
"Also, from a personal perspective, sleeping away from the comfort of our own homes and beds, with only the dogs for company shows us a little of what it is like for the homeless people that Street Paws helps."
To find out more about the One Paw 2 Another challenge and to donate go to www.facebook.com/Onepaw2another/
To find out more about the work of Street Paws go to www.streetpaws.co.uk
Successful trial calls for more cat owner volunteers
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is calling for vets and cat owners to take part in its latest study investigating the effects of supervised caloric restriction in diabetic cats who might benefit from weight loss.
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is calling for vets and cat owners to take part in its latest study investigating the effects of supervised caloric restriction in diabetic cats who might benefit from weight loss.
The research aims to provide a new and effective form of treatment for diabetic cats, using dietary change to promote diabetic remission. Identifying treatments that can achieve diabetic remission will encourage many owners to pursue treatment and greatly improve the quality of life for diabetic cats.
As part of the trial, which started in March 2021, the research team at the RVC Diabetic Remission Clinic will assess the ability of a new feline prescription diabetic food to promote weight loss – and hopefully diabetic remission – in diabetic cats who are mildly to markedly overweight.
Dr Ruth Gostelow, lecturer in small animal internal medicine at the RVC said: “The study has already proved incredibly successful; since it began, recruited cats have recorded a diabetic remission rate of approximately 75 per cent; an outstanding result compared to what is typically reported for diabetic cats.
"The early success of the trial means we want to expand it, and now we need more vets and their cat owners to sign up.
"Although some cats will remain diabetic for the duration of their life, a proportion can achieve diabetic remission and stop insulin treatment. Achieving diabetic remission significantly increases their life expectancy, and owner and pet wellbeing."
The study will take place over 12 months, and cats joining the trial will attend between five and seven outpatient appointments at the RVC Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, near Potters Bar in Hertfordshire. Additional monitoring will also be conducted by owners at home.
Eligibility criteria include cats who have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus in the last two years, are overweight to some extent (body condition score of 6 out of 9 or above) and treated with insulin twice daily. As part of the study, cats will be fed the test diet for the first 12 weeks, and the remaining time period will assess and monitor cats’ longer-term outcomes.
Cats and owners joining the trial will receive free underlying disease screening, free cat food for the 12-month period, free home blood glucose monitoring supplies, newly developed glucose monitoring cat litter for use at home and dedicated diabetic care from the RVC clinic team.
This research is particularly important as diabetes mellitus is one of the most common feline hormonal diseases - with an estimated 54,500 cats suffering from this condition in the UK alone. Obesity is a strong contributing factor to diabetes and with approximately 45 per cent of the UK cat population already diagnosed as obese, the number of cats affected is likely to increase further.
Diabetes mellitus can in fact increase mortality in cats, with many sadly being euthanised at the time of diagnosis. The condition requires daily injections and frequent veterinary examinations for affected cats, often resulting in huge financial and social costs for owners, as well as the emotional pressures of having a sick pet.
Lester Fortescue, a Burmese cat from Frating in Essex, joined the RVC’s feline diabetes trial in November 2021. As a kitten until the age of three, he took part in the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy shows, winning the titles of Grand Champion and Premier and was awarded ‘Best of Variety’ on several occasions. Following this success, Lester presented to his primary-care veterinary practice in October 2021 with increased thirst and urination, and hindlimb weakness.
He was diagnosed with diabetes, started twice-daily insulin, and was promptly referred to the RVC’s trial. Lester was able to stop insulin treatment only one week after joining the trial and has been in diabetic remission since. Despite the breed being predisposed to diabetes, Lester is the first Burmese to take part since the team started prospective feline diabetes trials approximately 10 years ago.
Rachel Fortescue, owner of Lester, said: “As soon as Lester was diagnosed with diabetes, I knew I had to do everything for him. Enrolling him on the RVC diabetic remission trial was the best thing I could have possibly done! The team have been so supportive and caring, truly understanding my anxieties and worries in how best to manage this condition.
“Having the RVC holding my hand through this journey has been absolutely invaluable and I have no doubt that Lester's early remission would not have happened if he had not been on the trial. I have watched Lester turn back into a happy, affectionate, playful cat again as the symptoms of his diabetes have disappeared and for that I am eternally grateful."
Dr Amrita Mohanty, the trial’s PhD student at the RVC, said: “As a veterinarian, I am very grateful to be part of a trial that has such an effective dietary therapy and have truly enjoyed working with our trial patients, sharing in the success of the owners who achieve stability or remission. I am hopeful that I can help many more cats with this diet and look forward to the beneficial impact this newly developed dietary treatment will have on diabetic cat populations in the future.”
Both general practice vets and pet owners can apply for the trial by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01707 666605. For cat owners wishing to apply directly, the RVC will communicate with respective practice vets to ensure trial suitability and to facilitate veterinary care throughout the trial.
For more information, visit: www.rvc.uk.com/feline-diabetes-diet-research
The best of last week's Pet Trade Xtra
The top-read stories from last week's Pet Trade Xtra can be seen below, if you missed them...
A new independent pet shop specialising in natural products has opened in Haywards Heath.
Paws on Track is the brainchild of experienced dog trainer Jacqui Wingfield, who believes natural food and treats will help ensure the welfare of her customers’ pets.
“I have gone all natural for several reasons,” said Jacqui. “It is closest to what pets would have eaten before we domesticated them, it is healthier for them, it increases their immune system, improves their digestion, gives healthier skin and coats, improves dental health and is basically all round just better for them.”
Paws on Track is located at The Orchards in Haywards Heath and will be Jacqui’s first bricks-and-mortar shop. Her previous experience with pets has been as a dog trainer and has run schools for several years.
“I will have to put the training on hold for the time being while I establish the shop as I cannot dedicate the time I would like to it,” added Jacqui. “But once the shop is running smoothly I want to continue training as well.
“Paws on Track is a family-business and I will be the only full time member of staff but will be helped part time by my eldest son who trained in animal management at Merrist Wood College, Guildford. My husband will also help with our deliveries.”
As well as selling natural dog food and treats, Paws on Track will stock accessories, including toys, collars, leads, harnesses and beds, and will cater for cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters as well as dogs.
The shop opens on Tuesday (February 1) and Jacqui said it won't be a grand opening but with some special offers on the day.
PATS, the UK’s number one pet industry exhibition, will be celebrating its 25th show in style at Sandown Park in Surrey on 27-28 March 2022.
Exhibitors and visitors will be invited to a special 25th PATS drinks reception, sponsored by pbwnews, after the first day of the Sandown show, where they’ll also be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pedigree Wholesale.
“We are really excited to be celebrating our 25th exhibition alongside Pedigree Wholesale, who have supported our shows from day one. In fact, they will have exhibited at all of our 25 shows,” said PATS organiser Gordon Thomas.
“This year’s PATS Sandown will be a great occasion as the UK pet industry continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Our Telford show last September was the first face-to-face trade exhibition since the easing of lockdown restrictions and it proved to be a huge success in reuniting the industry. The Sandown event will help to build on that success, and as a thank you to all our exhibitors and visitors we’ll be inviting them to come along after the first day of the show and celebrate with us and Pedigree Wholesale.”
Gerard O’Mahony, Managing Director of Pedigree Wholesale, said: “As we mark half a century supporting independent specialists with their pet and aquatic needs, it felt only fitting that we kick off our birthday celebrations at the 25th PATS show.
“PATS has always been a key event for us. A great place to exhibit new products and be face-to-face with our customers and partner brands. We look forward to exhibiting once again at PATS Sandown and hope everyone joins us on Sunday to raise a glass and toast the joint celebrations.”
The 25th PATS Sandown will see more than 130 brands and companies showcasing their new products to a growing number of buyers.
Pet stores and garden centres are being urged to register now for free entry to the show.
Here’s just a quick summary of popular visitor attractions:
- The biggest and best showcase of new pet products
- The opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with suppliers
- Unrivalled show offers and competitions
- Top groomers giving insightful demonstrations, workshops and talks
- Free parking, free access and free parking
- Invitation to the 25th PATS drinks reception, celebrating 50 years of Pedigree Wholesale, sponsored by pbwnews.
Exhibitors are well advanced in their preparations for PATS Sandown and are getting excited about showcasing their new products at the show.
Jim Weston, director of Little BigPaw, said: “PATS Sandown is the perfect place to launch our new treats to the pet market. With a bigger stand than ever before, Little BigPaw is planning to significantly expand its activities in UK in 2022.”
And Rob Newsome, director of sales and operations at Danish Design Pet Products, added: “Now in our 40th year of manufacturing in the UK we will be proudly presenting at PATS once again in March. PATS has been the most important trade show for us over the years and still very much provides a great platform to grow our business further.”
You can register online at www.patshow.co.uk where you’ll also find a full list of exhibitors and information on how to reach the venue.
Rescue centres are bracing themselves for a surge of ‘pandemic pups’ being abandoned this year, according to new research.
Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet but figures from Co-op Insurance reveal 12% of consumers regret their pets and would consider leaving an unwanted animal at a rescue centre.
The research found that pet lovers would take their pets to the vet more frequently than visiting the doctors themselves, yet unexpected vet bills make them wary of taking on a rescue animal.
In response to this data, Co-op Insurance has launched new pet insurance for dogs and cats over eight weeks old. To help make adoption more affordable, it includes an introductory discount on policies for those insuring a pet from a recognised animal charity or rescue centre – 7.5% for Co-op members and 2.5% for non-Co-op members.
The research carried out by YouGov shows that 91% of Brits looking for a pet would consider adopting from a rescue centre, however, 29% are deterred as they believe they would be expensive to insure and care for.
Of the 51& of the British public who would like to get a pet, the research revealed that 39% would be put off unless the animal was known to have a clean bill of health. In addition, 41% believe they are too high-maintenance, and 32% say they do not have time to look after a pet.
The Only Way is Essex television star Pete Wicks, who is also an RSPCA ambassador and Co-op Insurance customer, Pete Wicks said: “I’m delighted to be working with Co-op insurance on the launch of this new insurance cover.
“My dogs really are the most important thing to me. Peggy and Eric [my French bulldogs] always have and continue to get me through tough times, so I find it crazy how some people don't prioritise their health in the same way we would our own. Insurance is the best thing we can give our pets.’’
Ryan O’Meara, founder of dog rescue organisation Dogs Blog, said: “When someone is thinking of getting a dog, it's a wise choice to think about adopting one first. One of the biggest myths about adopting from a shelter is that rescue dogs are somehow problem dogs. This could not be further from the truth.
“There are multiple advantages to adopting, not least the fact that you are changing an animal's life. Rescue shelters work extra hard to make sure owners are matched to suitable pets. If someone is worried about adopting, it's worth remembering that dogs end up in rescue for many reasons - owners die, relationships break up, people's living arrangements change - and this means there is a rescue dog for everyone somewhere in Britain's shelters.
“As a former professional dog trainer and the co-founder of dogsblog.com (which has helped more than 60,000 rescue dogs find new homes), I can safely say, adopting a dog is one of the very best things I've ever done in my life.’’
British company Bark & Birchl has expanded its dog services into several new territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The company will also incrtease its European presence to include France and Germany this year.
The move strengthens the brand’s global reach across the world and follows the official launch of Bark & Birch in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in December 2021.
CEO Nick Rijniers said: “2022 was always going to be a huge year for Bark & Birch. Expanding into Australia, New Zealand and Asia is huge for us, and we have already started recruiting for staff and dog trainers in these areas.
“We have always had the goal of becoming the biggest dog services company across the world and we are thrilled to be expanding into these territories.”
Nick is only 28 and has managed to lead the company to global success in two short years, turning over $8 million dollars in the second year of business. The company is predicted to be valued at $100 million in 2022 after a further investment round.
He started his career in the Dutch Special Forces, training German and Belgian Shepherds before launching Bark & Birch in 2019 in the UK with only two members of staff. It now has over 100 staff members globally and trains over 1,000 dogs a month. The ethos of the company is to give both dogs and their owners a better life together.
The team of highly experienced dog behaviourists and ex-police/army dog handlers rehabilitate and teach basic and advanced obedience, either as part of a residential ‘Board and Train’ event or through a series of private one to one sessions.
During the Bark & Birch ‘Board and Train’ events, dogs will be boarded at the homes of their trainers, enjoying home comforts for the duration of their stay alongside their training. The company provides daily video and photo updates, as well as progress reports for owners.
The company will always strive to build customised programs around each dog, knowing that every dog is unique and different.