A PET food expert who will be visiting a local garden centre this month says good food, exercise and a loving home are vital for keeping pet pooches fit and healthy.

Julie Harvey from pet food suppliers Royal Canin will be at Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre, in Monkton Heathfield, from 9.30am until 4pm on Saturday, December 19, to talk to customers about the importance of feeding their pets properly.

Julie, who owns 11 dogs, 13 cats, four reptiles and three barn owls, said: “The key issues of keeping animals healthy are a balance of good food, regular exercise and a loving home.

“I’ll be visiting Monkton Elm to give people tips and advice on how to keep their pets as healthy as possible, as well as talking about the nutritional benefits of using the correct pet food.

“Proper nutrition plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of animals and just like people every pet has special nutritional needs.” Julie will be available to give visitors nutritional advice on feeding cats and dogs as well as giving customers samples and vouchers for Royal Canin products.

Liz Woodward, Pet and Reptile Centre Manager at the garden centre, who owns a whippet called Spider, added: “What many people don’t realise is that feeding cats and dogs cheap food can have costly effects.

"For example, cheap cat biscuits tend not to be PH balanced so cats can develop cystitis and will need to go the vets, which can cost up to £200.

“I’ve looked after dogs for many years and I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of feeding them good nutritional food – they are much healthier and have shinier coats.

"Also with the more expensive food you often need half as much so in the long run it can work out less costly than buying cheaper varieties.”