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10 things you need to know about puppy farming

Dear VetHelpDirect, I was planning on buying a new puppy, but since the recent media focus on Puppy Farms, I am concerned. How do I know that my puppy is coming from a responsible home, without it being too expensive? Can I trust the vets’ word for this? This enquiry follows the recent BBC documentary “Inside the UK Puppy Farm Capital”, which suggests that you are right to be concerned. The puppy-farming industry in the UK has been booming over recent years and the recent BBC exposé makes for harrowing viewing.
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Why is my dog scratching? He hasn’t got fleas!

Dogs do occasionally scratch, but if it’s frequent, incessant or distressing then something is amiss. Some dogs will lick or nibble rather than scratch. Many do this in private so watch out for red, sore skin, bald patches, or brown saliva staining where the fur has been licked. Itching (technically called pruritus) is a sign, not a diagnosis or specific disease. It’s probably the most common reason for owners to take pets to the vet’s, making up a large proportion of our consultations.
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Why Is My Cat Losing Weight?

It can be very worrying when you notice your cat to start to lose weight, especially if they’re an older cat. Weight loss conjures up terrible thoughts and googling often makes things worse - a symptom as vague as weight loss can mean so many different things it’s bound to be a scary page of results. We tend to notice problems in cats slowly. They’re masters at hiding signs of illness and disease and often live very independent lifestyles, some even going for several days without being seen. The fact that most cats toilet outdoors, unaccompanied, means that you may not notice symptoms such as diarrhoea or producing large volumes of urine. And since many cats have dried food down all day, changes in appetite can be hard to spot at first. This means that weight loss is often the first symptom that people notice in their cats, with other symptoms only coming after you start to keep a closer eye.
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Does Walking The Dog Count As Exercise?

I think we all know, deep inside, that we should be doing more exercise. The NHS recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, but 40% of people are failing to meet that target. Activity is essential to prevent obesity, heart disease and other chronic illnesses, as well as to improve our mental health. But for those of us with dogs, does walking them count towards this goal?
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Why is my dog so hot?

There’s a profound misconception about heatstroke in the UK - and that’s probably because we don’t have heat waves often enough to have to deal with it! Basically, people think that dogs cope with heat the same way that we do. They really, really don’t!
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