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RSPCA urges dog owners to start preparing now for return to normality
"It's important that you aren't leaving your dog for too long during the day, or longer than they can cope with." - Sarah Tapsell, RSPCA.

“It's important to think ahead and begin to make gradual changes.”

Following the Prime Minister's announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown, the RSPCA is encouraging pet owners to start taking steps to help their dogs adjust to normal life again.

Sarah Tapsell, one of the RSPCA’s regional clinical animal behaviourists, said: “You may have changed your routine with your dog if you are home more.

"Times for feeding, playing, walking and attention may all be slightly different. Your dog may be getting more or less of these things than before depending on the changes in your schedule.

“Changes in routine are something a dog can adapt to, but it is important to think ahead and begin to make gradual changes before you change your routine again when you go back to work. Otherwise, when things change again suddenly, it may come as a shock to your dog, even if they handled it well before COVID-19.

The charity recommends gradually changing a dog's routine to match as closely as possible with what its routine will be like after lockdown. This includes slowly adjusting location and length of walks and feeding times. As well as limiting periods of play and interaction to those times when the owner would normally be available, such as after dinner or in the evening.

“Remember that your dog is a social animal, it is normal for them to want and need to spend time with you” Ms Tapsell continued. “This means that it is important that you aren’t leaving your dog for too long during the day, or longer than they can cope with. Any dog left too long will struggle, with or without good advice to help them to cope.”

For more information please visit the RSPCA's COVID-19 hub.

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Budding 'Dr Dolittles' sought for writing competition

News Story 1
 Vets are being invited to enter a writing competition run by the Page Turner Awards for a chance to get their story published or even made into a film.

Dubbed the 'Rolls Royce' of writing awards, the Page Turner competition provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to submit unpublished fiction and non-fiction work to be read by a panel of influential players in the publishing industry.

A spokesperson said: 'Do you think of yourself as a magical healer, like Dr Dolittle. Or maybe you have a story to share about the times when, sadly, animals can't be treated, and pet owners reflect on those moments they took for granted."

For more information, visit 

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News Shorts
Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.