Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

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.

Four Legged Adventures in Kingston

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

Now, we all know how much I love my friends at Goddard Veterinary Group Kingston (especially Katy who gives me bacon flavoured treats) and I’m delighted to share my Kingston adventures with all the other Goddard’s doggies!

Kingston upon Thames is an ancient market town in South West London with a large shopping area, riverside restaurants and easy access to two Royal Parks. Kingston has a plethora of dog friendly pubs and a few restaurants. It is also my home town so here are some of my favourite things to do!


Walkies

With two beautiful Royal Parks in the borough, Richmond Park in the North and Bushy in the South, there is plenty of outdoor adventures to be had. Richmond Park is the largest Royal park in London, so large you can go there for years and still not see all of it.

With a combination of large open spaces and wooded areas, the parks have something for everyone, I love to run and jump over fallen branches while Archie is happy to stroll along at a slower pace. And both have water for the swimmers or those who just like to paddle, like us! You can even spend the whole day with a leisurely picnic or try and steal someone else’s!

Both parks do have wild deer so be careful if you are a chaser!

Shopping

The first place to stop off is mine and Archie’s favourite local shop, Woofs a Daisy. This is THE place in Kingston to get all you need for your adventures from collars and leads to toys and lots and lots of fabulous tasty treats.

If your pooch likes to join you in a spot of retail therapy, well behaved dogs on leads are welcome in John Lewis and West Elm. Kingston’s ancient market is a little piece of London history and has been there since the year 838! Imagine how many doggies have walked through there since then.

The market square has food stalls every day and regular events throughout the year with plenty of seating for you and your dog.

Activities

If parks aren’t your thing, then we recommend a lovely stroll along the river or better still a spot of sailing.

Pooches of all sizes are welcome on GoBoat which is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Pack a picnic (don’t forget the dog treats) and hop aboard for a leisurely cruise down the Thames towards Hampton Court Palace.

We have seen a few dogs getting involved in Paddle Boarding on the Thames if you’re brave enough, you can also hire them at the riverside. I’ve been told I’m not brave enough but secretly think it’s the humans who aren’t!

Eating and Drinking

In good tradition, we saved the best for last! Here are our favourite dog friendly places for those well-earned refreshments after all that walking, shopping and general adventuring.

The Ram – Situated on the riverside, this pub is super dog friendly and has a large outdoor space facing the river. Perfect for dinner after your GoBoat adventure!

The Canbury Arms  – A short stroll from Goddard’s Kingston you will find this friendly neighbourhood pub who absolutely adore dogs. Dogs are welcome in the large bar area and courtyard garden. I’m told the human food here is exceptional too!

Poor Boys – This is a fabulous place close to the river where we are welcome inside or on the terrace. The humans love the food here which is from New Orleans and we are usually lucky enough to get some because the portions are big!

Pottery Tapas Bar – Just down the road from Goddard’s Kingston is this amazing tapas restaurant with a beautiful secluded rear garden. We are allowed inside too and the humans enjoy a sneaky cocktail or two here.

Other great dog friendly pubs in Kingston include: The Bishop, The Boaters Inn, The Albert, The Black Horse, The Queens Head.


We do hope you enjoy your visit to Kingston and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Archie and me! 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

Lots of woof, 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.

Nacho’s Top Dog-Friendly Staycations in the UK

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


This year is all about the staycation! The humans have decided not to travel on those strange metal bird things and leave us behind. Instead, they are exploring our wonderful country and that means we can go with them! Archie has stayed in lots of hotels but from now on he must get a twin room because this summer, I’m coming too!

Here are some of our favourite dog friendly hotels where you can take that well earnt break this summer. We don’t like to miss out at mealtimes, so they all have dog friendly restaurants too!


Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter is a really cool hotel in East London who are so dog friendly we even get our own check in forms! In the rooms, four legged friends will find a bed, bowl and towel – which was handy as we arrived on one of the wettest days ever. The whole ground floor is given over to space to relax with the humans including bars and a restaurant and we pooches are welcome everywhere. The space is typically Shoreditch uber cool and provides some great photo opportunities for the gram!

Top tip: Nearby Victoria Park is great for walkies.

Mama Shelter, 437 Hackney Rd, London E2 8PP

The Hoxton

Another cool hotel with an urban vibe is The Hoxton. They have 3 locations in London and we have tried them all so can verify their dog friendliness! Again, we get a comfy bed, bowls and treats in the room and we doggies are allowed to dine in the bar and lobby areas (just not the main restaurants).

Between the 3 hotels you will be perfectly placed to explore most of London so why not book a stay in each?

The Hoxton Holborn, Southwark and Hoxton

The Gallivant

Just a 2-hour drive from London is the beautiful Camber Sands which is a huge stretch of sandy beach where doggies are permitted all year round. Opposite the beach you will find The Gallivant which is a fabulously dog friendly hotel, spa and restaurant. The rooms are all beautifully decorated with plenty of light and there are always treats on offer in the lounge/bar area. We can dine with the humans in the bar or on the covered outdoor terrace.

The hotel is perfectly placed for the beach and nearby is the quintessential English harbour town of Rye and the stunning landscape of Dungeness.

The Gallivant, Camber, East Sussex TN31 7RB

Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

Sounds posh doesn’t it? Well it is, but then so are we! Doggies up to 18 kilos are welcome to join their humans for no extra charge at the Sheraton Grand which is ideally placed for exploring some of the main sights of London and exploring the Royal Parks. While you are staying here, your nearest neighbour will be the Queen.

Top Tip: The best thing about staying here is the hotel bar Smith & Whistle where we have our very own dogtail menu!

Sheraton Grand London, Piccadilly, London W1J 7BX

South Place Hotel

This is a fabulous hotel in the heart of the City of London where we doggies get spoilt as much as the humans.

In your room at The South Place Hotel you will find a King size dog bed, toys, bowls and plenty of treats and we can join the humans in the bar area or the very Instagrammable Secret Garden Room (sorry no pooches in the Michelin starred restaurant).

Top Tip: We can confirm that the Secret Garden is also a great place for a private function!

South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF

Tapnell Farm, Isle of Wight

Okay, so not strictly a hotel this one but if you are more of an adventurous outdoorsy dog then we can highly recommend a spot of glamping at Tapnell Farm on the Isle of Wight. Getting to the island from London is super easy. Lymington is less than a 2-hour drive and the crossing from there takes only 20 minutes

My human isn’t keen on camping but even she enjoyed our stay here as the tent had a full kitchen, bathroom and even heating. There is a great burger restaurant on site too.

If you’re thinking of visiting the Isle of Wight check out our blog with loads more tips and recommendations.

Tapnell Farm, Newport Road, Yarmouth, IOW PO41 0YJ


All this talk has got me into the holiday mood! I’m going to speak to my humans about our next dog-friendly staycation… I think I deserve one after all this hard work! Keep an eye on Goddard Veterinary Group’s Pet CornerGVG Guest Social Editor for more from me and my humans, in the meantime, why not visit us on Instagram?

@the4leggedfoodies
@goddardvets

Nacho x

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 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.

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.