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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 203

Date:- 29 May 2005

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It's Not Fun in the Sun for Fido and Fluffy

AS our thoughts turn to hot sunny days, summer picnics and holidays in faraway places, Bayer Animal Health is asking us to spare a thought for our beloved pets and the impact of summer on their health, happiness and overall wellbeing.

Bayer has produced 10 top tips to prevent cats and dogs from getting too 'hot under the collar' as we approach summer...!

1. Don't leave your pet in a parked car! Every summer, animals left in cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke - remember dogs can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads on their feet.

2. Always provide your pet with access to shelter from the heat of the sun - indoors or outdoors, make sure there is some shade and ensure they have plenty of water. Bear in mind that elderly, very young, overweight and poorly pets will have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so make sure they stay cool.

3. Pets need exercise even when its hot but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs and short-nosed dogs. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours and keep the walks to a gentle pace. Keep in mind that some road surfaces get very hot and can burn your pet's paws.

4. Fair-haired pets may require sunscreen on their noses and ear tips to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. Ideally, keep your pet out of the sun between 10am and 3pm to prevent sunburn.

5. Keep your pet well groomed - if it has extremely thick hair or lots of mats and tangles, the fur may trap too much heat and you may wish to consider clipping it.

6. Summer is often a time when people fertilise their lawns but beware, plant food, fertilizer and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. Additionally, more than 700 plants (such as the foxglove or hibiscus) can cause harmful effects in animals.

7. Another summertime threat is fleas - avoid infestations with regular flea treatments, such as Advantage and Advocate.

8. Worming your pet is important all year round, however, for one hookworm in particular, Uncinaria stenocephala, there is a sharp rise from July to September. In heavily infested pups, it can have nasty results such as diarrhoea, anorexia and lethargy. By worming with Drontal every 3 months your pet will be protected.

9. During the hot weather, windows and doors are often left open which can lead to pets going missing. Consider Tracer microchipping to ensure easy identification if this happens.

10. Make suitable arrangements for your pet when you go on holiday - home alone is not an option, so get a pet-sitter, check if you have a reliable friend to act as carer or double check any kennel or cattery requirements regarding vaccine status. Alternatively, if you want to take your pet with you on holiday, remember to prepare! Your pet will need a rabies vaccination, worming (before you go and before you return to the UK), protection from exotic diseases (eg. Advantix spot-on solution), as well as microchipping (i.e Tracer). 

Bayer's Sabrina Stroud concluded:- "Summer is a time to relax, but pet owners must always be mindful of the impact of the heat, and their holiday plans, on their pets' wellbeing."

New small firms minister must address late payment figures

A leading business pressure group is reacting angrily to new figures that show UK small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are spending an average of nearly 3 hours every week chasing unpaid invoices.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB), which has fought hard against the 'malign' culture of late payment, said independent research, commissioned by corporate funding specialists GMAC Commercial Finance (GMAC CF), shows that the UK's 4 million SMEs spend 11.5 million hours pursuing unpaid invoices every week.

The FPB's Chief Executive Nick Goulding said late payment is still a matter of critical concern, ranking 4th in the FPB's last quarterly survey. "The Government - particularly the new minister responsible for small firms, Alun Michael - and the Better Payment Practice Group must not ignore these shocking figures.  They paint a vivid picture of the time smaller businesses waste on bad debtors. That is precious time that should be being spent running and growing the business. Moreover, late payment reduces cashflow, which is vital for financial health and can be the difference between making or breaking a business. Even by the Government's own statistics from the Small Business Service, SMEs are owed a staggering £17 billion from debtors at any one time, and approximately 10,000 UK businesses fail each year as a direct result of late payment. The FPB urges all business that suffer from late payment to report the offending bad debtors to the Office of Fair trading and the Department of Trade and Industry." 

Mr Goulding urged bosses to use the FPB's credit control guide which is designed to help firms combat bad debtors. "The FPB's credit control guide clearly shows what the law is on late payment - both from Westminster and Europe - and how to use it to enforce payment. The guide provides advice on how to avoid falling into the late payment trap, how to monitor and collect debt and what external assistance is available to help businesses recover outstanding payments. Furthermore it gives easy to understand advice on how to run an effective credit control system. In addition our member services team are only a phone call away."

Average number of hours spent chasing unpaid invoices per business by business sector:-

1) Number of SMEs* 
2) Total hours spent chasing unpaid invoices
3) Average hours spent chasing unpaid invoices per business

Business Sector

1) SME

2) Total 

3) Average
 Agriculture  14,000  16,660  1.19
Construction 51,000 127,500 2.5
Manufacturing 33,000 148,830 4.51
Transport & communications 18,000 46,440 2.58
Wholesale 26,000 114,140 4.39
Retail 38,000 56,620 1.49
Property 8,000 2,400 0.3
Business services 51,000 263,670 5.17
Hotels & catering 15,000 32,100 2.14

*Businesses with an annual turnover of between £350,000 and £10 million (figures supplied by Continental Research)

Continental Research on behalf of GMAC CF conducted the research.

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