Large group of dogs

What is the most dangerous dog breed in the UK?

What is the most dangerous dog breed in the UK?

Dog attacks in the UK has increased by 76% in 10 years and sadly this figure still seems to be increasing. Is this because there has been a trend toward a certain dog breed or are there just more dogs in the UK now? The numbers were collated from hospital admission records of all patients admitted to National Health Service hospitals. Sadly 16% of these attacks were recorded on children and of those 2/3 were recorded as fatalities.

Large group of dogs

What is the UK’s most dangerous dog breed?

The records show that 7,227 people were admitted to hospitals due to dog-inflicted injury between March 2014 and February 2015. This is a significant increase from the 4,110 dog attack admissions in 2005.

Is there a reason for the rise in dog related injuries?

The rise in the attacks coincides with the exemption of Staffordshire pit bulls from the Dangerous Dogs Act. Interestingly years ago the majority of attacks were on infants (nearly two thirds) but in the last few years this figure has reversed. It seems that the Bull type breeds are not fazed by the size on an adult human, whereas most other dog breeds are subdued by people who are significantly larger than themselves.

 

The Pit Bull has been banned dog breed in Britain since 1991. Interesting 3% of “bull type breeds” match the characteristics of the Pit Bull breed. Staffordshire Terriers, a pit bull line were exempted from the ban in 1997. In 2015 Doohan and Richardson reporting for The Mirror reported, “More than 3,000 banned Pit Bull terrier-type dogs have been discovered in Britain– almost 25 years after they were banned”.

Doohan and Richardson reported “A Freedom of Information request showed that legislation introduced following fatal attacks on children a quarter of a century ago has failed to halt the animals. Greater London had the largest amount of Pit Bulls with 1,060, and Merseyside was next with 237 followed by Greater Manchester with 223, and the West Midlands with 161.”

The police have the power to seize a dog that deemed as being from the banned dog breed list even if it has not shown signs of aggression. The owner must then prove it is not a banned breed and if the case is taken to court and the owner is found guilty. The punishment is severe; up to £5,000 or even six months in prison but it seems this is not a sufficient deterrent.

What should you do if you come face to face with an aggressive dog?

In recent years media attention has focused on specific breeds, mainly the Bull type breeds and Rottweilers but of course any breed of dog can become aggressive and bite. It is always advisable to follow certain safety procedures around new or strange dogs.

It is strongly recommended not to approach unfamiliar dogs, never to run from a dog or shout or scream at them. Try to remain motionless when confronted by an unfamiliar dog and never look a dog straight in the eye. If a dog is eating or sleeping let him be and do not disturb a mother with her puppies.

The UK’s most popular dog breeds

The Top 10 of UK dog breeds

Young Retriever in training with Dog Fence

Labrador Retriever in dog fence training

1. The Labrador/Retriever – Always a firm favourite as a family pet , they are loyal, biddable and also highly intelligent. On the negative side they are often quite food orientated which has earned them the nickname of the hoovers in the DogFence office! Interestingly they were the #1 breed that we contained on the system until 2014 when they were overtaken by the Cockapoo!.

2. Cocker Spaniel – A popular choice for both families and also as a working dog the Cocker Spaniel is also a highly intelligent breed but often a good choice for those who don’t want a large breed dog. They are also an extremely handsome breed and have consistently been placed first as best in show at Crufts. They can be a little strong willed and when mixed with the poodle to create the Cockapoo the result can be a very intelligent but stubborn Houdini.

3. Springer Spaniel (English) -Another Gun dog meaning that the top 3 places are held by working dogs. Traditionally a little more sensitive than the Cocker Spaniel and extremely loyal they have a wonderful nature and make excellent family pets. We describe the Springers as fun loving and busy!

4. German Shepherd – The German Shepherd (aka The Alsatian) is a very loyal and intelligent breed. Known for their bravery they are an interesting breeds as they are also quite sensitive and are often misunderstood by those that do not know the breed. They are often used by the Police or armed forces as a service dog because of their fearless nature and intelligence

5.  Staffordshire Bull Terrier – The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is again a breed that comes with a reputation that they do not deserve. When homed in a loving family this loyal breed is both affectionate and inquisitive. Sadly in recent years they have become popular because of their stocky stature and fearless nature and are often the subject of abuse and neglect. Luckily when re-homed into a loving home they make excellent and loyal pets.

6.  Border Terrier -Formerly our #2 breed that we contained on the System Border Terrier is a small rough-coated dog originating from the Scottish borders. They have a wonderful personality and are a popular choice of breed for vets as they both hardy and fun loving. These little dogs love children but don’t be fooled by their sweet looking faces as they are also avid hunters and have a high prey drive (hence the need to contain them effectively with the hidden fence).

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a popular choice for families who like the kind nature found within the Spaniel family but want a small dog. They are friendly and affectionate and love to be sat on someone’s lap.

8. The Golden Retriever – The Golden Retriever or “steady Eddy” as we call them! This breed has the kindest temperament. They are extremely intelligent but do be warned as they love water and if you are not a fan of that “wet dog” smell then this may not be the breed for you.  Known for their loyalty and ability to work with people they  can be found in many working roles such as search and rescue, assistance for blind or deaf people.

9.  Pug –  The Pug breed has increased in popularity over the last few years – they are loved because of looks, small and stocky (almost a mini Boxer with a curly tail) they are entertaining and good-natured.

10. Boxer – The boxer dog, (one of our favourites) was named because of the ‘boxing’ moves they make when fighting or play fighting. Sadly their popularity has fallen in in recent years, but they do make excellent family pets provided you are prepared for the fact that they are bouncy and not nearly as intelligent as the Lab or Springer. They are always looking to please and extremely good natured.

 

 

Lincoln University Cat Study for the use of electronic containment fence

The long awaited study into containment of cats using the electronic hidden fence system has now been released.

The study carried out by animal welfare researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK, is the first of its kind. The researchers found no evidence of long-term welfare problems in cats living with these fences, compared to control cats able to roam freely in and out of their owners’ gardens, indeed the report concludes:-

“Taken together, the findings do not suggest that long-term (at least 12 months) exposure to the system had a significant negative impact on the behaviour and welfare of contained cats. Indeed cats subject to electronic confinement appear to be less neophobic than unrestrained cats.”

As well as the safety element of using the system to keep the cat safe by preventing death/injury or even the theft of a beloved friend the use of the system also protects wildlife from cats that hunt. In the UK we love our cats and own over 8.1 million but sadly they also do significant damage to our wildlife and are responsible for death of 55 million small mammals and birds each year.

The study further reported noted: “In contrast, housing cats solely indoors to remove such risks is associated with increased prevalence of a range of health problems including obesity, Feline Urologic Syndrome and dental disease. Long-term exposure to common flame retardants widely used in homes may also have toxic side effects for cats.”

As many of our DogFence customers are aware we developed a simple and effective training protocol for cats using our indoor units which has proved highly successful.

With the development in technology in recent years from our manufacturer DogWatch Hidden Fence Systems we have seen increased interest in the use of the hidden fence for cats and when you take into consideration that every year 300,000 cats are killed on the UK roads the hidden fence offers a safe an affordable method of containment for cat owners. Sadly there has also been an increase in the theft of pedigree cats and again the fence offers owners comfort knowing that their cats can exhibit normal behaviour but safely in the confines of their own property.

grey cat with cat fence collar

Dog wearing yellow raincoat

Can dogs predict the weather?

We loved this article By Ralph Greco, Jr.

“Dog Alerts Owner to Bad Weather”

200460173-001It sounds like a headline from a supermarket tabloid but scientific facts support this seemingly amazing claim — which is not so amazing to those of us who own dogs. So many of us have experienced our furry companions barking well before we hear thunder, or have come to enjoy the old head-in-our-lap cuddle just before rain pelts our house.

How often do we find our dogs jumping for joy just about the time we hear our weatherman warning of an imminent snowstorm? We’ve all heard those not-so-tall tales of a family’s dog barking so loudly that they alert everyone to danger well before a tornado is even detected. The connection between imminent weather changes and our dogs knowing about them before we do, and often times their trying to tell us about them, is something so many of us have experienced or heard about that we seldom actually question this simple fact of doggy derring-do.

It’s less a canine “sixth sense” though, than it is a case of simple science.

A dog is more sensitive to the drop in barometric pressure and the shift in the static electric field that comes prior to climate changes. With severe weather imminent, like the often quick turn-about a tornado brings, or the severe conditions in the wake of an approaching hurricane, a dog will not only feel those acute changes in electricity and air pressure — all that much more acute in severe weather — but beyond warning their households, they have been known to seek shelter themselves.

Have you ever stepped out of your house, taken a hearty inhale and said, “Mmm, it certainly smells like rain?” Well, if you can sniff out that scent, your dog can too — their noses can detect concentrations of chemicals we couldn’t even imagine. When it comes to the smell of ozone in the air attributed to lightning, rest assured your pooch will smell it before you do!

And what about far-off thunder? Canine hearing is close to twenty times more sensitive than ours. Those rumbles we might not even hear until they are upon us as full-blown thunder are sounds and vibrations your dog will certainly hear or feel well before you This is why all that rattling really disturbs some dogs when it finally arrives in full fury.

Our dog’s senses are that much more sensitive than ours, so is it any wonder that they can detect the nuances of weather changes better than we ever could? If we can learn to recognize and interpret specific behaviors our dogs are instinctively revealing before those weather changes are upon us, we might learn to figure out what is literally “on the horizon.”

Although other animals, from cats to birds to turtles, are known to exhibit behavior related to anticipating storms or changes in the weather, researchers theorize that, because of the way dogs learn, the more often they are exposed to weather changes, the more they will learn to anticipate those changes — and then the changes that come before those, and so on, until they have learned to associate the tiniest of changes with what they have experienced before… and then will surely want to “tell” us about them.

Ultimately, we might be better off enjoying a good warm furry cuddle or heeding that loud consistent barking over watching the Weather Channel.

Does your dog warn you of impending changes in the weather, incoming tornadoes, or earthquakes? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Pets in the Spring

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations, spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. But the new spring weather can prove not-so-sunny for curious pets—or their unwitting owners. Before you embark on Spring cleaning or gardening, take heed of potential springtime hazards for your furry friend. Below are some of the potential hazards:-

Easter Treats and Decorations Keep Easter lilies and chocolate bunnies in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets, and lilies can be fatal if ingested by our furry friends. And be mindful, kittens love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration.

Buckle Up!

While every pet parent knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets.

Home Improvement

Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care

Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully.

Poisonous Plants

Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, daffodiles and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out this excellent full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.

Ah-Ah-Achoo!

Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Out and About

Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, mobile phone and any other relevant contact information.

Feeding a cat

The problems with feeding a cat that isn’t yours

Feeding a catFeeding a cat that is not yours, may not be doing the right thing

Cat owner or cat lover, we are all fond of cats. We appreciate it when they are around, we want to please them and make them happy. And what’s better for this purpose than a nice bit of food? But for several reasons, leaving cat food outside your house or feeding the nice cat that is coming to visit is perhaps not as good an idea as it may initially seem.

First, if the cat belongs to someone else, it might eat less at home. This may be interpreted as a loss of appetite by the owner, who then takes the cat to the veterinarian to have it checked over, causing unnecessary stress for both owner and cat. There are also the not inconsiderable financial consequences for the owner, as the vet may do tests because there is nothing obvious to explain this apparent loss of appetite. If the cat doesn’t eat less, then there is obviously the risk of obesity as the cat eats more than it needs and starts to put on weight. This not only puts a stress on the heart and the like, but also on the joints, resulting in painful arthritis sooner or later.

Second, if it’s not your cat, you won’t know if it has a health condition that is being controlled with a special diet. For example the cat could have a dietary sensitivity or diabetes, (which might be linked to obesity) and need to be on a specific diet to avoid problems. Feeding a routine food, may not have an obvious immediate effect, and the cat won’t avoid what might be tastier, just because it isn’t good for it in the long run. Such a choice could result in delayed complications, such as diarrhoea or a more serious crisis in the case of a condition like diabetes.

Some people like to offer visiting cats raw meat as a treat, after all, cats are strict carnivores, and feeding them with raw meat seems only natural.

sausages

Unfortunately, raw meat can carry disease, such as toxoplasmosis. This can be very serious, or may not appear to affect the cat very much (see Toxoplasmosis page here), but the cat can spread it to people including children, where the consequences can be much more serious. Feeding a cat that is not yours might not be the right thing to do, but feeding it raw meat is certainly not the right thing to do.

Finally, another sad potential consequence of feeding is that you may encourage cats to cross roads in order to come to visit and inadvertently increase the risk of them being run over. There are over 300 000 cats killed on the roads in UK each year and we don’t always know why they felt the need to cross this particular road. Getting food seems a pretty good reason, after all, many cats cross roads to head for fields where they can hunt.

crossing

So, what should we do about cats wandering in the neighbourhood? You should decide to do one or two things: First you should not feed any cat, and so avoid any problems linked to feeding them; next you can try to identify if the cats are owned or cared for? Where do they come from? Do they have to cross any road to come and see you? If they are owned, are they in good health and body condition? All this information and strong community contacts may give you the answers you need to make the right decision, and if it is not-owned, then it is better to take it to a rescue centre, where it can be fully cared for. Cat owners can also take measures to ensure that their cats are not put in “feeding- danger”. If they are on a strict diet, they can put a collar with the message “do not feed” on their cat. They can also talk to the neighbours and warn them about their cat’s special needs. Alternatively, if it is felt that it is better to keep it indoors, it must have plenty of stimulation and places to explore, so it doesn’t get frustrated.

vets3

By Dr Naima Kasbaoui and Prof Daniel Mills
University of Lincoln, Animal Behaviour Cognition & Welfare Group.

World War 1 Dogs

World War I Dogs

World War 1 DogsThis weekend we be remembering and paying our respect to those who lost their lives  in the two World Wars and other conflicts. During World War I many dogs lost their lives assisting the troops in the trenches.

Dogs had a vital part to play in World War One as the complexes of trenches spread throughout the Western Front. Dogs were used as messengers and proved to be as reliable as soldiers in the dangerous job of running messages.

The complexities of trench warfare meant that communication was always a problem. Field communication systems were crude and there was always the very real possibility that vital messages from the front would never get back to headquarters or vice versa. Human runners were potentially large targets and weighed down by uniforms there was a chance that they would not get through. In the heat of a battle, there was even less of a chance of a runner getting through as the enemy’s artillery was likely to be pounding your frontline and the area behind it. Vehicles were also problematic as they could breakdown or the ‘roads’ could have been reduced to a mushy pulp and travel on them made impossible.

Dogs were the obvious solution to this pressing problem. A trained dog was faster than a human runner, presented less of a target to a sniper and could travel over any terrain. Above all, dogs proved to be extremely reliable if they were well trained. A dog training school was established in Scotland and a recruit from this school traveled over 4000 metres on the Western Front with an important  message to a brigade’s headquarters. The dog traveled this distance  (war records classed it as “very difficult” terrain) in less than sixty minutes. All other methods of communicating with the headquarters had failed – but the dog had got through.

Dogs also had another role to play on the Western Front. For men trapped in the horrors of trench warfare, a dog in the trenches (whether a messenger dog or not) was a psychological comfort that took away, if only for a short time, the horrors they lived through. It is said that Adolf Hitler kept a dog with him in the German trenches. For many soldiers on any of the sides that fought in the trenches, a dog must have reminded them of home comforts.

Dog and firework

Remember remember the 5th November (& the weekend before!)

Dog and fireworkSo as Bonfire Night approaches this can be really frightening for our furry friends. Fortunately there are some simple things that you can do to make the experience as stress-free as possible for Fido!

* Walk the dog before the fireworks begin (best when it is still light to avoid an unexpected “Bang”). Some pets are too frightened to relieve themselves outside, which may lead to some accidents at home.

* Distract your dog and muffle any outside noise by closing the curtains and putting on the TV.

* If your dog does get scared, although it’s the natural thing to do, try to resist comforting them. This tends to reward their fearful behaviour; teaching them that it is the correct response to be scared.

* If your dog is not microchipped; make sure that they are properly identified with your contact details on their collar or install a containment system to prevent them running off.

Dog on beach

Autumn Dog Walks with Children

Autumn Beach Walks With Your Children And Dogs

Half term is creeping up on us here in England and those of you with kids and dogs will be thinking about where to go and what to do to keep them all happy.

Dog on beachIt’s easy finding a spot where the children can roam free but not so easy finding one where the family dog can join in the fun so we thought we’d give you a quick recap of the beaches in the United Kingdom that allow dogs to run free.

 Norfolk

Holkham beach has four miles of sand where dogs and families can enjoy an Autumnal picnic and a bit of late Summer surf.  There are beach huts just in case that nip in the air is a bit too fresh otherwise you can huddle up behind one of the many wooden dividers and wrap your wind breakers around you as you break open the flask of hot chocolate! This beach is backed by Holkham National Nature Reserve so you can prolong the day.

East Sussex

Camber Sands is a firm favourite for all dog owners and families as the dunes are far reaching and provide shelter. There are great rock pools here to explore and some odd looking wildlife like the sea splurge and the brown tailed caterpillar!

There’s great accommodation in Camber Sands that comes highly recommended for a half term break or just a quick weekend away.

Camber sands is a known doggy paradise and there are dog zones and a good amount of waste bins too!

Hampshire

Lepe beach is perfect for children and dogs to romp around with plenty of room and grassy areas, a mile of sand, pine edged cliffs and meadows full of wild flowers with views of the Isle of Wight!

It was here that many troops landed during D Day which is another heroic and heart warming story to tell your children in between foraging and beach combing.   Little ones will love the children’s play area and there are toilets and lots of parking!

West Cumbria

St Bees beaches are both sandy and stoney and have great facilities like wheelchair access and toilets!

St Bees is the beginning of the Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk and there’s a good nature reserve close by too where you need to keep the dog on a leash but further down there’s a mile long beach just great for dog walking and a bit of fetch!

Kent

We’d recommend Whitstable which is pebbly but the village it borders is just chocolate box pretty and full of those olde worlde wooden houses and little quaint shops that even sell oysters!

There is a sharp drop to the sea so make sure your dog can swim well.

 Yorkshire

There is almost a mile of sandy beach at Danes Dyck just on the south side of Flamborough Headland giving you loads of room to let the dogs run free and take the children with them!

Picnics are great here as you have the white cliffs behind you on both sides of the headland and the actual sand stretches, gently sloping, far from the ocean so you don’t even have to get your toes wet.

Devon

Branscombe beach is found at the end of a down and is a shingle and pebble beach. The beach is close to many of the popular tourist destinations such as Beer and Seaton so there’s plenty to do when you’re not letting your canine friend run free. The beach includes toilet and refreshment facilities, as well as a magnificent cliff top walk..

Dorset

Durdle Door beach is one you will easily recognise as it is probably one of the most  famous and photographed beaches in England and is very popular with dog walkers. The sandy beach curves around the cliffs towards the natural arch formed in the cliffs by the waves over thousands of years. Lulworth and Lulworth Cove are close by and access is from the car park at the Durdle Door Holiday Park.

Cornwall

Mawgan Porth beach offers a good change to the very popular and often crowded beaches of Newquay and Watergate Bay. You will probably only  share the beach with a few surfers depending on the weather!  The beach does tend to mostly disappear during the evenings when the tide is in, so this might be a good beach to combine with the nearby South West Coastal Path for a longer walk. However for pure peace and tranquility, it’s hard to beat.

Ugly Dog

Owners opt for ‘ugly’ breeds of dog

“Ugly” dog breeds are increasing in popularity as owners look for pets which provoke a strong reaction, new figures show.

Ugly DogMiss Ellie, a Chinese Crested Hairless dog, won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest last year Photo: Getty Images

Growing numbers of Britons are shunning traditional breeds in favour of the less obvious charms of animals which even their staunchest supporters might concede are not blessed in the looks department.

The surprising surge in popularity of a series of “ugly” or unconventional-looking dog breeds is revealed in statistics from the Kennel Club on the numbers of pedigree puppies born in the last decade.

Among the fastest risers were the Mexican hairless and Chinese crested, both of which are largely bald with wizened features, the Cirneco Dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound, distinguished by their oversized bat-like ears, and the wrinkled-faced dogue de Bordeaux, owned by Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, the England footballers.

Between these five breeds, 3,452 puppies were born in 2010, compared with just 990 in 2001.

Meanwhile, many traditional breeds are plummeting in numbers, among them the Yorkshire terrier (down 32 per cent since 2001 to 3,441 puppies in 2010), and West Highland White terrier, (down 51 per cent to 5,361), German shepherd (down 27 per cent to 10,364) and golden retriever (down 20 per cent to 7,911).