Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Ten tips for keeping your pet safe this summer

We know you want to do all you can to keep your pet healthy, happy and safe this summer. There are a few things to think about to keep them from harm — we’ve listed our top ten tips below!

Tip number 1: Barbecues

  • Burns are common in both dogs and cats. Make sure your pet can’t get near the barbeque until it has cooled down.
  • Skewers and chicken bones in leftovers or in the bin are a big problem for dogs if they get to them. They may not even realise they have eaten them with the meat but they can do massive internal damage. To prevent this, make sure that skewers or chicken with bones aren’t left in your dog’s reach, or are put in a container. It’s also wise to take the bin out straight away to stop them from getting to any meat and skewers left in there. We know they’ll sniff them out otherwise, given the chance!

Tip number 2: Heatstroke

  • Hot cars are a common cause of heatstroke in dogs, which can be fatal. Never leave a dog in a car in hot weather, even if it is shady and you only intend to be 5 minutes. It isn’t worth the risk.
  • Shade and water is key at this time of year to prevent heatstroke. All of your pets should have this at all times in hot weather. If you are going out with your dog consider taking an umbrella and a pop-up water bowl so that they can rest in the shade and have a drink wherever you go.

Tip number 3: Hot pavements

Hot pavements can burn dogs’ paws. Ideally only take your dog out for a walk in the morning or evening when it is cooler. Also, you can try and walk on the grass instead. If you are unsure if it is too hot, follow the 7 second rule – you will soon know if it would burn their paws! Place the back of your hand on the pavement for 7 seconds, if it’s too hot for you – it’s too hot for them.

Tip number 4: Summer travels

It’s very important that when you are going away, your pet will be safe — if they’re coming with you or not!

  • If your pet is on regular medication, then make sure that you come to see us before you go away so you don’t run out.
  • If your pet is coming with you on holiday and you are travelling by car, then you need to schedule in lots of breaks (ideally at least once an hour) so that your pet can get out of the car, go to the toilet and just stretch their legs. Always make sure there is plenty of water for them to drink. Be prepared for travel sickness, many dogs and cats get travel sick. If they are beginning to look unwell then pull over at the next services to let them get some air and start to feel a little better. A long journey can be much more stressful than we can imagine, you can use pheromone sprays to reduce stress – get in touch with our team if you’d like more advice.
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Tip number 5: Staying in the cattery or kennels

Make sure your pet is fully vaccinated, flea treated and wormed before they go in, you don’t want them to come out sick or infested! If your dog is going to stay with a sitter, or dog walker it’s advised that your dog gets the kennel cough vaccine, which is a quick and painless spray up the nose.

Tip number 6: Going abroad with your pet

If you plan to take your pet abroad then you will need to come in and see us in advance of your trip. Pets must have an Animal Health Certificate to travel and to qualify they will need a rabies vaccination and wormer in advance of the trip. Our vets will also give you advice about travelling and others risks when abroad.

Tip number 7: Flystrike

Rabbit owners, this one’s for you! Flystrike is where flies lay eggs on moist areas (often the back end), which then hatch to become maggots. This is very painful, as the maggots eat their way into the poor rabbit’s flesh. Any rabbit in the summer is at risk of flystrike, especially those with a wet or dirty back end as this attracts the flies. If you notice your rabbit has flystrike, ring us straight away. To prevent this, you need to check your rabbit’s bottom every day and clean it up. This should stop the flies from being attracted to that area and means you can catch it early if there is any flystrike.

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Tip number 8: Fleas

Fleas are very common at this time of year and if you have a pet that goes outdoors then it is inevitable for them to get fleas. You can’t always see fleas on your pet when they have them, so it is always best to treat whether you can see them or not.

  • It is important that you treat your pet regularly (once a month normally but check the product you are using) and ideally with a prescription-strength product bought from us – that way you can be sure it is safe to use and is going to work!
  • If your pet already has fleas your house will also be infested. You will need to wash all bedding at a high temperature, hoover thoroughly including crevices in sofas and treating the house with insecticidal flea spray.

Tip number 9: Ticks

These little bloodsuckers carry some very nasty and potentially fatal diseases such as Lyme disease and, more recently, babesiosis. This is mostly a risk for dogs that go walking through long grass (don’t forget about those pesky grass seeds either!). To prevent diseases from ticks, you can regularly treat for ticks (you can get a combination product with the flea treatment) and check your dog over every time you come back from a walk. We can always give advice on tick removal and there are specific tick removal tools, this allows you to be sure you have removed it all and have not left the mouthparts in.

Tip number 10: Suncream

In the summer months, the UV rays from the sun can be a problem for our pets, just like us. There is a form of skin cancer that can be caused by too many UV rays, especially in our white (or pink nosed) pets. You can buy pet-friendly sun cream at most pet supermarkets and this only really needs to be applied to the nose and ears (especially important in cats).

Top tips for welcoming a new puppy into your home

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


Once you’ve decided to get your puppy, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget what a big impact your new arrival is about to have on your life. I moved in with my new family in April and although they already had Archie, it’s been almost 11 years since he was a puppy and my humans realised, they’d forgotten how challenging those first few weeks/months can be!

Here are my human’s top tips for welcoming a new puppy into your home:

Before Puppy Arrives

As well as the obvious long list of things you will need to purchase like a bed, toys, treats etc, there are also a few other key things to get in place before you bring your puppy home.

Register with a vet

Find your nearest Goddard Veterinary Group practice, let them know you have a pup on the way, and arrange an initial visit within his first few day’s home. The sooner your pup gets used to the vets the better and if his first visit is just meeting some friendly people and getting treats, he will always be happy to return.

Set up insurance

The minute the breeder hands over the pup to you, he is your responsibility so insurance needs to be set up in advance with that date as the policy start date. And it’s not just health issues you need to consider. Dogs are also very accident-prone and if yours has an accident like being hit by a car, you may not just have a vet’s bill but also a claim for damage/injury to the car owner. All pet insurance policies include third-party liability cover up to £2,000,000. Do your research to find the best policy for you.

Decide on house rules

Will pup be crate trained? Will you use that crate at other times or just overnight? Which room will the crate be in? Will pup be allowed upstairs/on the sofa/on your bed? What times will you feed him?

These are just a few things to consider but whatever you decide for your own home, the key thing is to have everyone in your home on the same page. There is nothing more confusing for a pup to be encouraged on the sofa by one human, only to be told off by another.

Puppy proof your home

Your pup will be immediately inquisitive about his new surroundings when he arrives home and there are certain items you will need to protect from potential destruction and others you will need to remove for your pup’s safety. If this is your first dog, check out this list of hazardous items some of which can be fatal to dogs. This includes plants, food and chemicals.

Puppies also love to chew, especially until they get their adult teeth (around 30 weeks old) so you will need to remove anything precious or potentially dangerous such as electric cables. Make sure your pup has plenty of interesting chew toys to keep him occupied and keep his eyes off your designer shoes!

Book puppy classes

We highly recommend you take your pup along to classes even if you’ve had dogs for years and are confident in your training abilities. Puppy Classes will help you with basic training but they are also a great place for your pup to socialise with other dogs, humans and children. Good puppy classes with reputable trainers get booked up quickly so you will need to get your pup signed up in advance. Puppy classes are generally for pups up to 20 weeks old.

Puppy’s First Few Weeks

Getting Out and About

Getting your pup out into the world from day one, helps them to get used to the sights and sounds of your area and helps prevent them being fearful later on. We suggest you get your pup out on walkies even before they are allowed to walk on the ground by using a carry bag or sling or maybe a stroller for larger dogs.

Once fully vaccinated, it’s great to get your puppy used to the place where you are likely to walk most but in the early days of training that place needs to be carefully chosen. For example, our closest park is Richmond Park but the vast open space and extra dangers of wild deer and a busy road running through it are probably not the best place to practice recall. We have therefore chosen a small, enclosed recreation ground nearby for Nacho’s walks and any off-lead activities.

Establishing a Routine

You will need to let your pup know what their daily life is going to be like and the sooner you introduce them to these things, the better. If your pup is going to be left alone while you go out to work or play without them, then introduce this slowly over their first months if possible. Adult dogs should not be left home alone for more than 4 hours at a time and for pups it’s even less.

Other things that will become part of their routine you may need to consider include:

  • Introducing them early to their professional walker/carer, groomers and vets.
  • Getting them used to various modes of transport.
  • Taking them to dog-friendly places.
  • Allowing them to socialise with people and other dogs.
  • Introduce them early to anyone who will be a regular visitor to your home.

Being Social

No, we don’t mean setting up an Instagram account! Get your pup to meet as many doggies of all ages and sizes as you feel comfortable with. If you are a bit nervous about this, get some of your doggie friends to help you and always check with other owners that their dog is OK with puppies. Playing with other dogs is an important part of your dog’s development and older dogs can help your puppy learn what is acceptable.

Your puppy should also get used to humans of all shapes and sizes, especially any that will be part of their lives. Some common issues that dogs can develop are people wearing hats/helmets or high visibility clothes, children on bikes/scooters and, of course, the postman! The earlier you can get your pup to learn there is nothing to fear from any of these, the better. If you usually walk in a park, try mixing in some street walks so your pup can encounter a variety of sights, people and sounds such as these and also things like sirens and other loud city noises.

Provide Mental Stimulation

Puppies are inquisitive and constantly looking for mischief, on top of which they are desperate to chew, especially until they lose their puppy teeth. Giving them a variety of toys and games to keep them occupied will not only save your furniture and shoes from certain destruction but will also get them using their brains.

Providing puppies with ‘doggy jobs’ which involve a repetitive action such as licking, sniffing or chewing encourages your puppy to be calm, keeps them mentally stimulated and helps them settle. There are many excellent brain toys for your pup including K9 Connectables, Kong® and Lickimat®

Give Them Time Out

All that learning, playing and discovering his new world is hard work so you will need to factor in some rest time for your pup. Give him a safe place to rest, somewhere away from your other dog, your children and general activity in your house. Your pup will always be more interested in what’s going on around him and want to be involved so you will need to help him when it’s time to rest.

Creating a quiet VIP den area (very important pup) will help give them a quiet safe space they can go to to get away from it all – you can use crates, pens, underneath tables and corners to create a VIP area – just as long as it’s tucked away and quiet.


That’s all, for now, folks, thanks for reading! 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


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.

Reasons to vaccinate your cat or dog

We all want the best for our pets, but is it really important to keep your dog or cat’s vaccination up-to-date? The short answer is yes!

Reasons to vaccinate your dog

Failure to keep your dog’s vaccine up-to-date puts them at risk of contracting the following diseases:

DISTEMPER

  • What does it do? The virus attacks the nose, lungs, stomach, intestines, brain, eyes, skin, and nervous system; the skin symptoms are why it is sometimes called ‘hardpad’, as the pads become thickened and crusted.
  • How bad is it? This can be a fatal disease for dogs and is closely related to measles. Between 20%-50% of infected dogs unfortunately will not survive.

CANINE INFECTIOUS HEPATITIS

  • What does it do? This is a really nasty virus that breaks down the blood vessels supplying the dog’s liver and often eyes.
  • How bad is it? Some dogs fight it off, others may die within hours – it’s incredibly variable.

PARVOVIRUS

  • What does it do? The virus attacks the gut lining, causing bloody diarrhoea, severe vomiting, severe dehydration, and then shock and death. It is usually most severe in puppies but any unvaccinated dog is susceptible.
  • How bad is it? One in five dogs dies from this disease even if they’re immediately taken into intensive care in practice. Any delay, however, increases that risk.

LEPTOSPIROSIS

  • What does it do? The bacteria are spread through urine (from infected dogs and from rats and cows) and when absorbed, infect the kidneys and liver.
  • How bad is it? This may result in permanent kidney and liver damage and there is also a risk to human health.

Reasons to vaccinate your cat

Failure to keep your cat’s vaccine up-to-date puts them at risk of contracting the following diseases:

FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA

  • What does it do? This highly contagious virus attacks the gut (causing vomiting and diarrhoea) and the immune system.
  • How bad is it? There is no cure which is why prevention is best. Unfortunately, around 20% of cats contracting this illness will die.

CAT FLU

  • What does it do? Cat flu viruses (feline herpesvirus and calicivirus) causes sneezing, runny nose, sore eyes, and, rarely pneumonia.
  • How bad is it? Very few cats will die of cat flu – although it does cause a lot of suffering. Surviving cats are often permanently affected with chronic nasal infections.

FELINE LEUKAEMIA VIRUS

  • What does it do? This virus inserts itself into the cat’s DNA and replicates. This results in the collapse of their immune system, and the development of cancer.
  • How bad is it? This is an important, and preventable, cause of disease and death in cats with 80%-90% of infected cats dying within 3 years of infection. 

These diseases are primarily spread from cat to cat, but some viruses can last for up to 6 months or longer in the environment, so when you enter your home it is possible you can bring in infected particles with you. This means that it is important to vaccinate your house cat too, as they can still be susceptible to these illnesses.

Don’t delay, if your dog or cat is due their vaccination, book an appointment with your local Goddard vet soon.

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.

 

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.