Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Spring Dangers & Threats to Your Pet

Spring is an exciting time of the year. The weather is improving and the prospect of enjoying time outdoors with your pet is becoming more of a reality after months indoors. 

It is important for all pet owners to know the potential dangers springtime can bring to their pets and the best ways to avoid harmful accidents. Read some of our helpful tips on keeping your furry friend away from danger. 

Outdoor Pet Dangers

There are many items that can be found in your garden during spring that can be highly toxic and in some cases deadly, to your pet – even in the smallest of quantities. 

Lily Plant

Any part of the lily plant can cause kidney failure in cats, so think twice about having them in your home if you are a cat owner.

Plant Bulbs

Many plant bulbs can be toxic to pets if chewed or eaten so be careful if planting them this Spring. We would much prefer to see some photos of your blooming garden than a necessary trip to one of our practices with your pet. 

Slug Pellets

Slug pellets containing metaldehyde are extremely toxic – ingestion of even small amounts will cause severe seizures.

Adders

While seemingly less likely than the other outdoor threats, Adders need to be considered by all pet owners whether in their gardens or out on walks. As the weather gets warmer, Adders wake up from their winter hibernation. Our overly inquisitive pets can encounter the UK’s only venomous native snake in many different scenarios and can attract a nasty bite if you aren’t too careful. 

Ticks 

One of the most problems you will come across as a pet owner is Ticks. As our pets begin to go outside more in the spring it is easy for them to pick up tics in woodland, vegetation or even your garden. As spring is the most common time of the year for ticks, they are worth watching out for. 

easter treats and foods harmful to pets

Food Dangers For Pets

Chocolate

Probably one of the most well-known dangers to pets from food. Chocolate is a common pet poison – the higher the cocoa content, the more danger it poses! As chocolate becomes plentiful around Easter be wary of your pets inquisitive nature to hunt out treats. Make sure it is stored away properly and children know it can harm pets. 

Raisins, currants and sultanas

Similar to chocolate, raisins, currants and sultanas can be found in a variety of Easter treats. These can cause kidney failure in dogs. While there is no defined dose that will prove deadly to your canine member of the family, it is important to ensure their contact with any dried fruit is significantly limited. 

Xylitol (E967)

The sweetener can be found in many confectionery items and causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels (and occasionally liver failure) in dogs.

Mouldy Food

If garden composting this Spring, keep pets away from mouldy food which can cause seizures and liver problems if ingested.

Other Dangers

Spring is not the only time of the year our pets are in danger. There are different threats to their health and safety throughout the year. Read our handy guide to keeping your pets safe at Christmas

It is also important to keep your pet’s health under consideration as the weather gets warmer into the summer months. Look at our tips for keeping your dog cool in the warmest part of the year. 

SPEED to help pets against toxic

There are many things around the house that are poisonous to our pet friends, use our Poisons Guide if you think your pet has eaten something poisonous that is not listed above, or get in touch immediately with your local Goddard vet.

 

Christmas Pet Dangers

Do you know the pet dangers hiding on your Christmas shopping list?

Human Medication

In the run up to Christmas, many of us may be reaching for the ibuprofen or paracetamol to cure a fuzzy head. Make sure to keep human medication away from your pets — dogs and cats are very sensitive to the effects, much more so than us. Many over the counter and prescription drugs, whilst beneficial for us, can be very harmful or even deadly to pets even in small doses. Always consult your vet for advice before giving any medication to your pet.

Xylitol

Could your good intentions be unintentionally harmful to your dog?
Xylitol is often used in baked goods around Christmas time in an effort to fight the festive flab. However, it is extremely toxic to dogs if ingested, even a small amount can be fatal. Xylitol (also known as E967) can be found in many products including sweets, baked goods, jams, peanut butter, dental hygiene products, chewing gum, etc. Ingestion in dogs causes a rapid drop in blood sugar which can lead to lethargy, wobbliness, confusion, vomiting, collapse and tremors/seizures. Some dogs may also go on to develop acute liver failure. Cats luckily do not appear to be affected.

Batteries

It’s time to wrap those Christmas toys and gadgets – don’t forget the batteries! However, pets are inquisitive and may think nothing about swallowing batteries, which can cause significant damage to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract! Large, chewed or punctured alkaline batteries often require intervention, and the lithium disc or ‘button’ batteries pose the greatest risk of all. Always contact your vet if you think your pet may have ingested a battery.

christmas_pet_dangers_medicine_chewing_gum_batteries

Mouldy Food

Mould ingestion can be lethal to pets. It usually happens when dogs raid the kitchen waste recycling caddy, so keep them out of reach this Christmas period where there is likely to be an increase in food waste. If your pet ingests mouldy food seek treatment without delay. Symptoms can occur rapidly and include:

  • restlessness
  • panting
  • excessive salivation
  • whole-body muscle tremors
  • hypersensitivity to touch/noise
  • seizures

Plants

Many Yule time plants can be hazardous to pets if chewed — luckily in the majority of cases symptoms are mild and self-limiting and may include salivation, oral irritation and vomiting/diarrhoea. To be on the safe side, keep plants out of reach of inquisitive pets and consult your vet if ingestion does occur.

Decorations

If you are decorating your Christmas tree this weekend beware of the potential dangers to your pet. Pets can be attracted to shiny lights, tinsel and baubles! Swallowed or chewed decorations can lead to cuts or intestinal blockages, and chewed fairy lights can pose an electrocution risk.

christmas_pet_dangers_mould_plants_decorations

Salt

Homemade salt dough decorations are pretty but poisonous! You might be decorating your Christmas tree this weekend, but these decorations can be hazardous for inquisitive pets. Due to the high levels of salt needed to make salt dough, ingestion of just one of these homemade decorations is enough to cause serious poisoning. Symptoms can range from vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, lethargy, incoordination, excessive thirst or urination. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death are possible. Please avoid putting these around your home at Xmas if you have pets.

Onions and Garlic

Did you know that onions and their relatives are toxic to dogs and cats?
The Allium family (onions, garlic, spring onions, chives, leeks etc) cause red blood cell destruction in cats and dogs — which can result in lethargy or collapse. Even 1 or 2 garlic cloves can be enough to cause serious problems in a cat. Exposure can also occur chronically i.e. small amounts every day can build up to cause an issue. Gravy is often a sneaky culprit at Christmas time — instant gravy can contain a high amounts of onion/garlic powder, so avoid giving it as a treat!

Nicotine

The weekend is here and it’s Christmas party time! However, our own bad habits can be bad for our pets too. Nicotine poisoning can occur in pets so keep cigarettes and vapes out of reach — the flavoured liquid used in E-cigarettes can be particularly attractive to dogs. With significant ingestion, symptoms occur quickly and include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, excitability/agitation and neurological signs. Always visit your vet if you think your pet has ingested any nicotine.

christmas_pet_dangers_salt_onion_nicotine

Chocolate

Keep those Christmas chocolates out of your pets reach! Chocolate is poisonous to pets, and dogs are usually the main culprits. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which dogs and cats are unable to process properly. Theobromine acts as a stimulant leading to clinical signs of:

  • vomiting and diarrhoea
  • increased thirst/urination
  • hyperexcitability/agitation
  • rapid heart rate
  • seizures

The darker the chocolate the higher the theobromine content therefore the more toxic it is. White chocolate is safe however it may cause gastrointestinal upset due to its high fat content.

Alcohol

With the Christmas season in full swing what happens if your pet gets their nose into your alcoholic tipple? Alcohol should not be consumed by pets as their livers are not equipped to break down alcohol as easily as human livers are. We all know how awful we can feel after a heavy night, but our pets are much more prone to alcohol toxicity with potentially life-threatening consequences.  Alcohol toxicity can also occur from ingestion of unbaked bread dough — as the yeast ferments in their stomach, alcohol is created and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Grapes and their dried fruits

Grapes and their dried fruits such as raisins, currants and sultanas (whether raw or cooked) are known to cause fatal kidney failure in dogs — so keep Christmas treats such as mince pies, puddings and cakes out of reach. Even ingestion of just a few grapes is enough to cause severe illness so always consult your vet if your dog ingests any amount.

christmas_pet_dangers_chocolate_alcohol_grapes

If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested any of these items, get in contact with your local Goddard vet or hospital as soon as possible. 

Top tips to keep pets safe this winter

If it’s cold for you, it’s cold for your pet – that’s the key message from the British Veterinary Association (BVA)* as it urges pet owners to take extra precautions to ensure dogs, cats and other small pets are kept safe from hidden and potentially fatal hazards as snow flurries and icy conditions are forecast in many parts of the country.


As with humans, pets can fall ill upon exposure to extremely cold temperatures for extended periods. To avoid this, vets advise that dogs are walked for shorter periods of time than usual, but more frequently if required, and to consider putting a coat on old dogs or those with thin fur to keep them warm. Keep older cats inside during an extremely cold spell and ensure that even healthy young cats have easy access to shelter and warmth.

Dogs

When walking your dog in ice and snow, do not let it off the lead and avoid walking in areas where ponds or lakes may have frozen over – animals often don’t understand the difference between solid ground and ice and can fall through. In this situation, vets urge owners to call the emergency services for professional help rather than going in after their pet. Although distressing, it is never worth risking your own life as well as your dog’s. It’s also important to wipe your dog’s paws and belly on returning home from a snowy walk to remove any ice or salt, and to regularly check for cracks in paw-pads or for redness between the toes.

Cats

Cats are especially at risk of poisoning from antifreeze, which can be fatal for them even in small amounts, especially if veterinary treatment is not sought immediately after ingestion. Store and use antifreeze products carefully, clean any spillages thoroughly, and contact your vet immediately if your cat develops symptoms of antifreeze poisoning, such as vomiting, depression, lack of coordination, seizures and difficulty breathing.

Small Pets

Small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs that usually live outdoors are vulnerable to the cold and damp despite their furry coats. Owners with outdoor hutches and runs should make sure that their pets’ living space is well-protected from snow, frost and winter rain and kept dry. Give rabbits and guinea pigs extra bedding to keep warm and check their water bottle or bowl regularly, as these can freeze when the temperature drops.

Here are some other top tips to keep pets safe this winter:

  • Provide a warm, draught-free shelter: Make sure your pet’s bed is in a draught-free, warm spot off the floor in the house. For outdoor pets, the hutch or run should be in a sheltered position, away from wind, rain and snow at least 10 cm off the ground.
  • Take precautions during and after walks: Dogs need to be exercised; however, during the colder months, try to walk your dog for shorter periods. Wipe your dog’s paws and belly on returning home from a snowy walk to remove any ice or salt, and to regularly check for cracks in paw-pads or for redness between the toes.
  • Avoid antifreeze poisoning: Wiping your pets’ paws can prevent them from ingesting toxins that they may have stood in whilst outside. Antifreeze in particular is highly toxic for cats even in small amounts, with almost one in six vets (17%) reporting treating cats for antifreeze poisoning over the 2018 winter season. Apart from use in car radiators, some cases that vets saw were thought to be from ingesting diluted antifreeze used in ornamental water features to protect the pumps.
  • Temperature control for small pets: Keep the temperature of rabbit and guinea pig homes between 10?C and 20?C for rabbits (the lower temperature assumes rabbits are healthy and kept with other rabbits, with lots of bedding for warmth) and 5?C to 20?C for guinea pigs, avoiding too many fluctuations in temperature.
  • Provide extra bedding for rabbits and guinea pigs: Make sure your rabbits and guinea pigs have extra bedding to keep warm during colder weather – line hutches with plenty of newspaper, provide lots of hay and cover with an old duvet/blanket/tarpaulin. If the weather becomes very severe, consider moving outdoor pets inside to a well-ventilated space with light and room to exercise – but never place them inside a garage in use, as vehicle exhaust fumes are harmful to rabbits and guinea pigs.

If you would like some more advice on how to keep your pet safe this winter, contact your local Goddard vet.

*The BVA is the largest membership community for the veterinary profession in the UK. They represent the views of over 18,000 vets and vet students on animal health and welfare, and veterinary policy issues to government, parliamentarians and key influencers in the UK and EU.

Four Legged Adventures in Brixton

Pet Corner: Written by Goddard Veterinary Group’s Guest Social Editor, Nacho from The Four Legged Foodies

Archie and I spent the day exploring dog friendly Brixton and we found some real delights! Have a look below…

Start off with a coffee and/or breakfast at The Laundry on Coldharbour Lane which is a great space in a converted Edwardian Laundry! Dogs are welcome inside or on their pretty terrace and humans can also get a coffee to go if you can’t wait to get started on that walk.

From there it’s just a 15-minute walk to Brockwell Park which is a beautiful park with great views from the top of the hill as well as ponds and plenty of space to work up a hunger for lunch. You can also watch some humans braving the British weather at the Brockwell Lido if you pop into the lido café 400 Rabbits. (Dogs aren’t allowed in the pool though).

We stopped off at Ayla’s Pet Store on Dulwich Road to stock up on treats, then we headed to The Lounge Brixton on Atlantic Road for lunch.

The humans really like the sound of Caribbean Comfort food and they weren’t disappointed. They said the food was delicious but too spicy for us to try. Thankfully the staff were more generous and brought us our own treats.

This is a super friendly place we highly recommend our four-legged friends try.

Nacho-Four-Legged-Adventures-in-Brixton-London

The humans needed another stroll after lunch to help their full bellies (I don’t know what that is) so we strolled through Brixton Village Market which is a really cool covered market with lots of independent traders and eateries. Plenty of places for coffee and maybe some cakes for later.

The humans love beer so we had to pop in to see our friends at Brewdog who always have a warm waggy welcome for four-legged foodies!

If your humans still have room in their bellies after that, then they can get great pizza from Mamma Dough which is also on Coldharbour Lane.

The staff here LOVE dogs and the pizza is amazing, if you’re full then you can always get one delivered later.

We had a great day in Brixton and hope you will too! Keep an eye on Goddard Veterinary Group’s Pet Corner for more from me and my humans, in the meantime, why not visit us on Instagram?GVG Guest Social Editor

@the4leggedfoodies
@goddardvets

Nacho x


Please note that any advice given is the view of the blog author and is not necessarily the view or advice of Goddard Veterinary Group. Always seek advice directly from your own vet.

 

Stress-Free Vet Visits For Your Cat

Taking your cat to the vets can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet, but for some cats even just visiting us for a routine appointment can be an ordeal. If your cat is also ill or painful then it can be additionally stressful for them, but there are steps you can take to make it easier for them to cope. With a bit of planning ahead, a visit to our vets can be a much less traumatic experience for your cat.

Preparing for a vet visit

Cats like routine and can easily become stressed in new situations, especially if they have previously had a negative experience. However, there are things you can do to prepare your cat for a visit to our practice that will give them a more positive experience and reduce any future stress:

Familiarising your cat with their carrier

A pet carrier is essential for safely transporting your cat and should always be used when bringing your cat to us. However, if the only time your cat sees their carrier is when they are going somewhere stressful, then they will quickly learn to associate the carrier with negative experiences. It can then start to be difficult to get them to go inside.

To reduce any negative association that your cat may have with their carrier, you need to use the carrier as part of their daily routine, so they will become familiar with it. This means that the carrier needs to become part of your cat’s normal furniture. You may need to feed your cat inside the carrier, or let them use the carrier to sleep in, allowing them to become comfortable using it on a daily basis. It can take time to adjust to the carrier being part of everyday life but eventually they will become more comfortable using it, resulting in them being calmer when they need to use the carrier for travelling.

What to put in the carrier?

To make the carrier more appealing and familiar for your cat, there are items you can add to it. By lining the carrier with your cat’s favourite blanket or item of bedding, you can ensure that they have a familiar scent inside the carrier. Some cats are also comforted by their owner’s scent, so you could add an item of your clothing to give your cat extra reassurance. If your cat is being hospitalised with us then you can also bring along one of your cat’s blankets that we can add to their bed to make their stay more comfortable.

Feliway

Cats can communicate using pheromones which are released when your cat is happy and content. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the happy and content signal a cat will produce. This means it can be a useful product to use that will help settle your cat and keep them relaxed in a variety of situations. Before using the carrier it can be useful to spray the carrier and any bedding or covers with Feliway, 15 minutes before you need it. This can help keep your cat calm while in the carrier, during the journey, and while at our vets. You can also repeat the use of Feliway in the carrier if you are picking your cat up from us after a hospital stay. Using it in your home once you get back from your visit, to help your cat settle after their journey, can also be helpful. One of our team would be happy to discuss with you the use of Feliway and how it may be helpful for your cat.

Travelling to the vets

Now that your cat is familiar with their carrier and is ready for their visit to see us, it is time to think about how you can make your cat’s journey to the vets as stress free as possible. Cars are scary for a cat, with the noise and motion being upsetting for many individuals, but there are ways you can make the journey more comfortable for them.

Car journeys

Once your cat is inside the carrier, you should try to make them feel as secure as you can. Cats can become stressed by travelling and unfamiliar environments, so you can reduce this stress by covering the carrier up with a blanket or towel. Once in the car, the carrier should be secured so that it does not move around. Using a seat belt is a good way of keeping the carrier safe in your car. Cats also prefer the carrier to be kept level, so using extra towels to keep the carrier in a suitable position will also help keep your cat relaxed. If it is a hot day then make sure that the car is at a comfortable temperature for your pet. Be careful that they are not left inside the car by themselves for any length of time, as the car can heat up to dangerous levels very quickly. Remember to keep your cat secure inside the carrier throughout the journey and not to let them out inside the car. A scared cat may try and escape which can be dangerous for them in an unfamiliar environment.

At the vets…

The waiting room

The waiting room can be a very stressful place for your cat with all the different scents present and other pets that may be there. It is important to remember that meeting a dog will be very unsettling for your cat, so you should try to avoid any encounters with dogs if you can, particularly if your cat is nervous. Once in our waiting room try to sit separately from any dogs, and let one of our team know if this is not possible so we can help you.

Continue to keep the carrier covered over so that your cat still feels secure. Cats usually feel safer at a higher level so avoid placing the carrier on the floor and instead use one of the chairs to put the carrier on, to keep your cat more comfortable. For your cat’s safety keep them inside the carrier at all times while in the waiting room, where they will feel secure.

The consulting room

Once inside the consulting room, if the doors are secure, then it can be useful to let your cat out to explore, allowing them to adjust to their new surroundings. By giving your cat time to walk around the floor is a good way to let them settle. If your cat is visiting us for a procedure, such as a nail clip or blood test, then our vet may ask a nurse to help hold your cat to make the procedure as safe and comfortable for your cat as possible. If your cat is particularly nervous then one of our vets would be happy to give you advice on how to keep them calm.


We understand that visiting our vets can be scary and stressful for your cat, so we try to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions about how you can help keep your cat calm and settled during their visit, then one of our team will be happy to help you.