Month: April 2014

Help your pets shed those extra pounds using hydrotherapy.

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In the last few years a number of hydrotherapy clinics have been set up around the country. The dogs swim in special pools or exercise on hydro treadmills to lose weight. 

These centres were originally set up for rehabilitation for injured dogs. Joe Keane of Sunbeam Veterinary in Cork has said that hydrotherapy is now used for for overweight dogs.

“Four years ago we invested in an underwater treadmill as we were looking to the future and hydrotherapy is a good non-invasive therapy post-surgery. Three years ago we started to use the walker as a weight-loss treatment for animals that find it difficult to exercise because they are too large. Hydro therapy takes the pressure off all the joints. Like ourselves, it’s difficult to lose weight just by dieting — it’s better if there is a multi-approach to weight loss,” says Keane.

Overweight dogs can develop many health problems such as diabetes, joint, respiratory and heart problems. Injured animals who are unable to exercise are also prone to weight gain and this is where the hydrotherapy can help them.

Keane also urges owners to be careful with their dogs’ diets, and warns of canine obesity. “It’s a growing epidemic — it’s now considered a disease in pets. We need to make owners aware of this growing problem. People don’t realise that a slice of buttered toast is the equivalent of a burger to a dog or one biscuit is like a packet.”

Whether or not an overweight do loses weight is down to the owner and the owner needs to make the changes in their dog’s diet and their exercise regime.

In Kildare, at the Canine Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre, dogs are learning to swim in an 11x5m heated pool, as well as using a hydro treadmill. “Dogs are becoming couch potatoes like the rest of us,” says owner Mick Murphy whose business has the biggest canine hydro pool in the country. “I’ve seen dogs nearly double the weight they should be — they cannot move. We have reversed obesity in dogs, but it takes discipline, they say a minute of swimming is the same as a mile of walking.”

New or nervous swimmers first take to the water in a lifejacket but its not long until the pets will run happily intHydrotherapy-Jacob (1)o the water on their own. Some owners even book their dogs into the pool for ‘social sessions’ where owners can get into the pool and play too. Murphy believes the Irish, “are slowly beginning to cop on” about pet exercise and nutrition but he says owners must resist the urge to overfeed animals when they put on the “sad face”.

At the Veterinary Hospital, UCD, the Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) spokesperson Lynn Cogan says rehabilitation in general is a fairly new concept in veterinary medicine in Ireland but the benefits are now widely recognised.

“Hydrotherapy is gentle on joints but is a tough workout and will burn calories,’ she says.

It is very important to feed your dog the correct amount of food and also to understand what ingredients are in their food. Raw is by far the best way to feed your dog and a lot of Pet Shops now offers frozen raw food such as Nature’s Menu. The next best way to feed them is grain free. Grains such  as maize are of no nutritional value to dogs, they  are simply used as a filler.  Grain free dog foods such as Canagan and Orijen can be bought in Pet Shops or online at It is always good to be informed about your dogs food. If you have any questions about what you are feeding your dog, what is the best dog food for your budget or what you should be feeding them do not hesitate to contact the Pet Depot Team at or 0404 32498.


Hundreds turn up to animal rights rally in Belfast.

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Hundreds of people and their dogs congregated in Belfast city yesterday to protest against animEMAKER+78484jpg_3al cruelty.

New animal welfare support group Northern Ireland Says No To Animal Cruelty is demanding a dedicated PPNI unit to tackle crimes against animals. 

Recently an East Belfast family walked free after a major animal cruelty case and the peop
le of Belfast as absolutely horrified that crimes such as these were not punished. Jeremiah Kirkwood (43) and sons Chris (23) and Wayne (20), of Island Street, admitted keeping animals for fighting, while Jamie Morrow (19) admitted similar charges in what a judge termed “one of the vilest examples of premeditated abuse”. They were banned from keeping, dealing in or transporting animals for 10 years. However, as the Belfast Telegraph revealed earlier this month, there is no central list of those banned from keeping animals for welfare officers to refer to.

The people of Northern Ireland gathered to show their support for tougher sentencing for people convicted of animal cruelty.

Up to 10 dogs are being put down in Irish pounds everyday

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According to Dogs Trust Ireland up to 10 dogs are being put down every day in Irish pounds and the cause for this is the growing trend of buying puppies online. People are buying their new puppy online and then abandoning them, leaving them to be picked up by the country’s pounds.

Figures from the department of the Environment show that Wexford had the highest number of dogs killed last year, a huge 441 dogs. Cork came next with 391 and the lowest was Carlow with 3 dogs being killed there.

Dogs Trust spokesperson Kathrina Bentley said Wexford was “very much an area of high puppy farming” where proximity to a port made it easy to ship dogs to Britain.

People are breeding dogs non stop and selling them online. People buy these dogs without realizing the commitment involved and then abandon them. Dog’s Trust are inundated with emails every day with people saying they don’t want their dogs, especially after Christmas when children get fed up of new puppies. A huge amount of Husky’s are being abandoned at the moment. These are  very popular dog but people buy them without thinking about how much a commitment it is to have such a huge and energetic dog.

Dogs Trust actively works with Ireland’s pounds to try and re-home dogs and at the moment they have 160 dogs, including Buddy, a male border terrier rescued from a Cork pound at the age of 12 months and now nearing his fourth birthday.buddy

Buddy had tummy and skin problems and Ms Bentley reckons the cost of treating his ailments could have led to his abandonment. He is now Dogs Trust “office dog.”

The Trust welcomed the 11.5% fall in the number of dogs entering the pounds system in 2013 compared to 2012 and the 21% reduction in the number of dogs being destroyed in pounds over the same period, down from c 4,500 to c 3,500.

However, Ms Bentley said they were still struggling to get across the message of “responsible ownership.”

The latest figures show 15,481 dogs entered Irish pounds last year. The number of greyhounds destroyed remains high at 427 in 2013 compared to 404 in 2012.

Dogs Trust has rehomed 4,000 dogs since it opened in 2009 and is currently full to capacity.

It is very important to make sure that your dog is micro chipped so that if he is picked up by the pound that all it takes is a quick phone call for you to be reunited with your dog.

Cash strapped animal centre in Kildare has no where else to turn.

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The Kildare Animal Foundation today has taken to Facebook saying that they need to raise at least €8000 to juanimalfoundationkildarest catch up.

Spokesperson for the foundation Geraldine O’Hanlon has described the situation as “very serious”. 

“We need help,” she stated.

“Those who supply us with food and provide veterinary care have been more than patient. It is now almost seven weeks since we have been able to make any payments. Our electricity supply is tenuous on a very severe and unsustainable payment demand.

“Every coin jar has been emptied, every pocket searched and we have nowhere else to turn.

“The cause is simple – there are more animals than ever coming to us for care and fewer people in a position to donate. We have not been extravagant or wasteful, there is more going out than coming in.”

“We do not engage in random and regular appeals. We ask now only when we have nowhere else to turn.

“Please if you can, help us to turn this situation around so we can go back to what we do best.”

Anyone who wishes to donate to the foundation please donate through their website  Kildare Animal Foundation’s website.

Bears rescued from bile extraction farm in China.

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A Hong Kong based animal welfare group called Animals Asia are planning their largest rescue ever as they plan to save 130 bears from a bile extraction farm in China.

Special farms throughout China keep about 10,000 bears, mainly Asiatic brown bears or moon bears and also sun bears and brown bears. These bears spend their lives living in tiny cages barely big enough for them. The bears gall bladder is then milked everyday for bile through catheters. This bile is then used in medicines produced in China. This process causes huge long term suffering for the bears and has generated complete outrage due to it’s cruelty.moon-bear-asiatic-black-bear-baby-cub

Animals Asia has thankfully made a deal with state owned company Flower World to take over their bile farm and turn it into a sanctuary for moon bears.

Animals Asia chief executive and founder Jill Robinson said it was a “historic move”.

“China has long been outraged by this cruel practice and our statistics show 87 per cent of Chinese are against bear bile farming,” she said.

“This negotiation is a result of years of growing awareness and increased opposition, with the bear farmer showing the moral integrity to do the right thing.”

On May 5th Animals Asia will take the sickest of the bears and bring then 1200km away to their sanctuary in Chenghu for emergency veterinary treatment. Others will stay in the farm and start the 2 years process of turning the farm into a sanctuary.

Animals Asia has so far rescued 285 bears and this will be their biggest rescue attempt to date. The deal was made after the company said they were losing money. The company invested about €930 million in the farm and have still not started to sell any bile.


Liam Neeson Targeted By Animal Rights Activists

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Last month Liam Neeson was seen as a hero in animal rights having saved a dog from being abused by a group of teenagers but this month it seems he has lost his hero status. Irish Hollywood star Liam Neeson has been targeted by animal rights activists after he has spoken out to protect horse and carriage drivers in Central Park.

Protesters have been hounding his New York home carrying signs with pictures of dead horses saying ‘Workeliamneesond to death’ and ‘Horse + Traffic = Death’.  Carriage drivers in Central Park are in danger of being banned over huge concerns around the welfare of the animals. 

“The actor has invited the anger of animal rights activists all across the U.S.  as he lends his support to an outdated and dangerous tradition”, activists argue. The activists have claimed that “Liam Neeson has made the shameful choice to be the only celebrity voice on the side of the cruel, outdated horse carriages.”

New City Mayor Bill Di Blasio came into power looking for an end to the 150 year old tradition but Neeson has made a point of standing publically behind the controversial traditional horse and carriage industry, which has long been a favourite of tourists at the tourist hotspot. The final decision on the ban is to go to a Council vote but the support for the ban introduced by the Mayor is soft.




Mars buys $2.9 billion worth of P&G’s pet food business.

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Sweet makers Mars have agreed to buy 80% of Proctor and Gamble’s pet food business including brands such as Iams, Natura and Eukanuba. Mars, who makes the majority of its $33 billion annual revenue from candy such as M&M and Snickers bars, also owns other pet food brands such as Pedigree, Whiska and Royal Canin.iams

The transaction will exclude the companies business in some markets, including Europe and P&G are looking for other buyers for these markets.

The deal boosts Mars’ power in major markets in North America and Latin America and also  helps P&G get rid of a business that they acquired in 1999 but has since began to stagnate and only brings in $1.6 billion in annual revenue. P&G began to struggle with rising commodity prices and niche competition.

Exiting Pet Care is an important step in our strategy to focus P&G’s portfolio on the core businesses where we can create the most value for consumers and shareowners,” Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley said in a statement. “The transaction creates value for P&G shareowners, and we are confident that the business will thrive at Mars, a leading company in pet care.”

People are becoming more aware of what they are feeding their dogs and are choosing different options such as a grain free or a raw diet. It remains to be seen will this change of ownership see a huge change of ingredients for these dog foods such as the change in Royal Canin’s ingredients.