Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

How to protect your dog from grass seeds

At this time of year grass seeds are a common problem and can pose a real threat to dogs if left unfound or untreated as the seeds can work their way into the skin and become infected or cause lameness. The tops of long grass stems found in gardens or parks can become very dry during the summer months and will easily attach themselves to your dog’s fur as they walk past, without you even noticing. Paws, ears and under the armpit are the most common affected areas, so what can you do to protect your dog from grass seeds?


How do I tell if my dog has an issue with a grass seed?

Your dog may show signs that it is being irritated by a grass seed such as:

  • excessively biting or licking the affected area, especially in between the toes
  • shaking their head if there is a grass seed in the ear, or pawing at the head
  • sneezing excessively if there is a seed up the nose
  • a closed, uncomfortable eye

If the grass seed has pierced the skin, you may notice swelling around the affected area.  Occasionally, the only sign of a grass seed infection might be lethargy or loss of appetite if the grass seed has penetrated into the internal body cavities of the chest, throat or abdomen.

Are all dogs affected by grass seeds?

Yes, all dogs can be affected by grass seeds, but especially those breeds that have longer fur and feathered toes. It is best to check your dog over as soon as you get home from your walk to catch any stray seeds that may have attached themselves and dispose of them.

how_to_protect_your_dog_from_grass_seeds_body

What if I cannot remove the grass seed?

A grass seed that is seen on the surface of your dog’s fur is easily removable, but if you notice the grass seed has burrowed its way into the skin or if you think you dog has a grass seed in their eye or ear, contact your local Goddard Veterinary Practice immediately.

How can I protect my dog from grass seeds?

  • Try and avoid letting your dog roam or jump around in long grassy areas
  • Check your dog over with your hand when back at home, paying attention to the feet, the inside of the ears and the armpit
  • Brush out any seeds you may find and dispose of them in a bin
  • Look out for any signs that a grass seed may be irritating your dog
  • Have your dog regularly groomed if the coat is prone to matting, or has a long coat.

Long grassy areas are also a haven for ticks and fleas, so be sure to keep your preventative treatment up to date and dog protected.

I need more advice, what should I do?

Call and speak to one of the team for advice or book an appointment. We’re here to help.

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.

Are wild mushrooms harmful to dogs?

Ultimately, of course, it depends on the mushroom! However, with an increasingly warm and wet autumn climate, mushroom populations are soaring. In fact, in September 2018 the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) actually issued a warning about the problem. Read on to find out if wild mushrooms are harmful to dogs and what signs to watch out for. 

If you think your dog may have eaten an unknown wild mushroom, contact us IMMEDIATELY for advice.


What is a wild mushroom?

This sounds really easy —  but do you actually know what those bulbous masses are? Fungi are a kingdom of life all of their own, as different from plants as plants are from animals. Most fungi live in the environment and form networks of fine fibres growing through the soil. The mushrooms we see are their fruiting bodies, part of their reproductive cycle, which develop spores and then distribute them into the wind to spread where they will.

These fruiting bodies are high in protein and often very nutritious, so make a nice snack for any passing critter. Most fungi accept this as one of those things that, as a non-mobile fungus, one must put up with. However, there are a number that resent their unborn offspring being gobbled up by animals, and produce a range of really quite nasty poisons to deter peckish beasts.


What do wild mushrooms do to dogs?

The majority of the 4000 or so species of UK mushrooms are harmless – they might not taste nice, but they aren’t actually dangerous. However, there are a number that produce toxins called mushroom poisons (interestingly, although very similar poisons produced by moulds are called mycotoxins, the term is not usually used for those produced by the mushroom fruiting bodies themselves). For centuries, if not millennia, the properties of these fungi have been known by healers, botanists and shamens, and used for a range of uses.

In dogs, we tend to see three groups of clinical effects:

Early onset vomiting and/or diarrhoea

These are usually the least harmful types of mushroom – as a general rule of thumb, the earlier the symptoms appear, the less dangerous the mushroom is. This is because it triggers vomiting and purging that remove any unabsorbed toxins from the dog’s system rapidly. If the dog is violently vomiting within six hours of eating the mushroom(s), then although they need to be seen by one of our vets (dehydration and salt imbalances from profuse vomiting can be dangerous in itself), the prognosis is usually fairly good.

Neurological effects

The most famous example is, of course, Psilocybe semilanceata, the “Magic Mushroom”, but there are a number of different psychoactive fungi in the UK. Unfortunately, dogs do not cope well with the effects of the active ingredients and may develop abnormal behaviour (well, of course!), self-injury, abnormal heartbeats and even seizures. In some cases, death may occur due to trauma while under the influence of the hallucinogen (for example, jumping from windows or running into solid objects), while in severe poisonings, the seizures may result in hyperthermia which may cause death from internal overheating (although fortunately this is relatively rare).

Liver and/or kidney damage

Sadly, many of the most dangerous mushrooms do not give easy tell-tail signs of poisoning until much later – possibly too late. These damage may damage the liver or kidneys, typically resulting in symptoms such as lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination (in kidney failure) and jaundice (in liver failure). Treatment requires intensive supportive therapy and often hospitalisation and the prognosis is guarded.


How do you know if a mushroom is safe or not?

The bottom line is that it’s very hard to tell – many harmless varieties have a poisonous twin that is almost indistinguishable. As a result, we strongly advise you not to let your dog eat wild mushrooms – full stop!

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.

 

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