Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Top 10 tips for keeping your pets safe this firework season

From Bonfire Night to New Year’s Eve, over the years we’ve created a whole season of fireworks. Now, we’re all in favour of this, the more chances we get to celebrate, the better! But sadly many pets don’t feel the same way. In this blog, we’ve outlined our top 10 tips on how to keep your dogs, cats, and other pets safe this season.

    If your pet is afraid of the loud noises, start desensitisation therapy as early as you can. Try downloading firework sound effects from Dogs Trust and play them very, very quietly. Reward your pet for staying calm, and over weeks or even months, gradually increase the volume so they get used to the sound.
    Panicking pets tend to run, but they’re not so fussy where they run to! If they DO escape and are microchipped you can be sure you’ll be reunited again.
    There are pheromone products available for cats and dogs such as Feliway and Adaptil, which are very effective at reducing stress and anxiety levels. Start using them at least 2-3 weeks before fireworks season starts if possible.
    There are a wide range of herbal and nutritional calmers on the market; some of which we stock and can recommend. Although the evidence for Zylkene isn’t conclusive, we think it really can help settle animals down if given over a prolonged period!
    Your pets need to be kept safe and secure, with a suitable nest or den to hide in. This is especially important for dogs and cats, but also applies to rabbits and small furries kept in open cages or hutches. Make sure they can hide themselves away when the displays start!
    It may be a little tricky but make sure your cat and dog are safely inside. Not only will it stop them escaping (and then potentially coming to harm), but it will also muffle any scary sounds and frightening lights.
  7. LIGHTPROOF AND SOUNDPROOF HUTCHES, CAGES AND AVIARIES If possible, rabbits and other small pets in cages or hutches should also be brought inside — or at least, away from sight and sound of the fireworks. For example, a large hutch can usually be moved into a garage or shed. For cage birds, the aviary isn’t usually movable, but the bright flashes can panic birds into a smother. As a result, we recommend carefully covering the aviary (while leaving lots of air-holes!) to minimise any risk.
    Many pets are very sensitive to changes in routine and timing and can put them on edge. So as much as possible, keep everything the same. You really don’t need any extra stress — and neither do they!
    Of course, if your dog is afraid, your cat is scared, or your rabbit is terrified, it’s only natural to try and comfort them. However, you need to be careful. Excessive fuss and treats can reinforce the fearful behaviour — as they learn this is what they need to do to get your attention! As a rule of thumb, make a moderate fuss of them if they come to you, but don’t go to them, or dramatically change the way you react. Remember, pets can pick up on our stress levels as well as vice versa, so it can spiral out of control!
    If your pet is really, really stressed and you’re worried they’ll hurt themselves — come and talk to us. Not only can we give you personalised and tailored advice, but our vets can, if necessary, prescribe anti-anxiety medications to relieve short-term stress, fear and panic.

Trick or Treat October Offer

20% off Royal Canin Veterinary Care Nutrition Diets

There’s no trick here — only treats! Kick start autumn with a delicious 20% off all Royal Canin Veterinary Care Nutrition Diets bought in-branch at any of our practices throughout October. Royal Canin Veterinary Care Nutrition is a extensive range of highly palatable and precisely formulated diets that can help to support every life stage of your pet. For more details, speak to your local Goddard vet practice soon. 

What’s a promotion without the T&C’s?

  • 20% off applies to all ROYAL CANIN® Veterinary Care Nutrition Canine and Feline dry diets 1.5kg bags and larger and on outers of wet food
  • Offer not available to existing ProActive Pet members
  • Offer not available on any other ROYAL CANIN® products
  • No cash alternative is available
  • Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers
  • Prices quoted not binding, wholesaler prices may differ
  • Subject to availability and while stocks last
  • Offer available between 1st and 31st October 2019

Common Toxins Dangerous To Your Pet

Certain types of food and household items can be unknowingly toxic to your pet — read our list below for the most common. If you think your pet has ingested one of the following please contact your vet immediately. If you are concerned your pet has eaten something poisonous not listed please use our online poisons guide for advice.


  • Chocolate – causes heart rhythm abnormalities and nervous system signs (eg excitement, tremors, seizures). Just 15g of dark chocolate can be toxic to a 10kg dog.
  • Onions – cause anaemia by destroying red blood cells.
  • Garlic – believed to have a similar effect to onions.
  • Macadamia nuts – in dogs, cause weakness, inability to stand, vomiting, depression.
  • Avocado – fatal in birds.
  • Grapes and raisins – can cause kidney failure in dogs.
  • Raw or undercooked meat – diarrhoea and/or vomiting (due to Salmonella or e.coli bacteria).
  • Fungal toxins (mouldy food) – diarrhoea, tremors, seizures.
  • Bread dough – disorientation, depression, weakness, coma.
  • Acorns – diarrhoea, kidney failure.
  • Lilies – have been shown to cause kidney failure in cats.
  • Brunsfelsia – (“yesterday-today-and-tomorrow”) – diarrhoea, seizures.
  • Oleander, rhododendron, azalea, crocus, foxglove, hyacinth bulbs – Heart problems.


  • Antifreeze – causes kidney failure, cats and rabbits need to ingest only very small amounts to show symptoms.
  • Tea Tree Oil – depression, weakness, incoordination, muscle tremors.
  • Pyrethrins, Permethrins – usually found in supermarket / pet shop flea products, toxic (especially to cats) if ingested; causes salivation, tremors, and seizures.
  • Paracetamol (panadol) – toxic to the liver and interferes with oxygen transport, can be very quickly fatal in cats.
  • Ibuprofen (nurofen) – depending on amount eaten, can cause gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney failure, and/or seizures.
  • Aspirin – can cause gastrointestinal ulcers.
  • Bleach and other cleaning products – many of these chemicals are highly acidic or alkaline, and can cause tongue and mouth ulcers when licked by dogs or cats.
  • Rat poison– causes blood clotting problems, seen most commonly as internal bleeding, or blood in stools or urine, or vomiting blood.

Pet Health and Wellbeing: why regular checkups matter

Your pet seems healthy, so why should you bring them in for regular checkups?

There are three main reasons why we advise regular checkups:

1) To prevent health problems,
2) To detect any new problems as early as possible,
3) To monitor any existing conditions and maintain good health.

To give you an example of how regular checkups have really helped an animal, here’s the story of a little dog called Mouse.

Last year Mouse came in for her vaccination and checkup. Based on her examination, there was nothing wrong with her, which was good news! During the appointment, her vet asked about Mouse’s worming schedule and looked at her records to see which one she usually gets and when it was next due. These aren’t unusual questions for a vet to ask, but then Mouse’s vet is concerned about lungworm and goes on to explain that this is a new kind of worm, which has slowly travelled around the country and has come close to where Mouse lives. This new worm can grow inside Mouse’s lungs and make her cough, or even cause very serious, life-threatening problems. But they can also protect Mouse from it if they switch her wormer to a different one. So, by simply changed her old tablets to a different product, they have a way to prevent a potentially fatal disease from ever happening.

After changing her wormer, Mouse seems to be doing well – she loves her food; she loves to play. Every day she gives her owners the look. We all know “the look” from our pets, the one that asks, “c’mon where’s my breakfast?”.

But as many times as we feel like we know what our pets are thinking, the truth is they can’t talk to us. This means that as owners, there are limits to what we can know is happening with their health and wellbeing. So lots of diseases can be “hidden” for a long time, simply because we can’t talk to our pets. Many of these problems from kidney disease, to cancer, could be treated much more effectively if we can only catch them early.

So, Mouse seems fine, but she can’t tell her owners that her elbow feels sore after she’s chased her ball around, so as far as her owners can tell, there’s nothing to worry about it. During Mouse’s recent check-up, they are gently reminded that she is getting older. In the past, her vet has talked to her owners about all sorts of things, including how Mouse is one of those dogs that get “the zoomies”. (If you haven’t seen “the zoomies” before – it’s a sudden burst of energy and excitement where dogs ‘zoom’ around their environment.) During the checkup, Mouse’s vet asks about if she still bounces on and off the bed. The question takes her owner by surprise a bit, but when they think about it, Mouse still zooms around the floor, but she doesn’t jump up and down anymore.

As the vet continues with her examination, she spends a little extra time feeling Mouse’s spine and then moving her back legs around. After a few minutes of what looks from the outside like it might be “Doggy Yoga”, she reports that Mouse is a little stiff with her left elbow, and when it bends it’s not quite able to move like her right leg. These could be signs of arthritis starting, so she gives some advice on what they can do to help and starts Mouse on a medicine trial for two weeks.

Two weeks later Mouse is back, and her owners reported that after a few days of medicine they noticed a change; Mouse had gotten brighter – like she’s gotten a couple of years younger. In fact, when they had given her a bath, Mouse got “the zoomies” again, and now she was back to jumping on and off the bed! The vet rechecks Mouse and finds she is less stiff when they bend her elbow. They talk some more about what they can do to help keep Mouse comfortable with her arthritis and they schedule another checkup for a few months’ time.

Now they know that Mouse has arthritis in her elbow, and they’ve got it under control today, but they also know things will change. Hopefully by doing everything they can they will slow those changes down. Maybe in a few months’ time, they will find that things have changed, and they need to change Mouse’s medication. Maybe they will find that Mouse’s arthritis hasn’t changed, and they just need to schedule their next check. Or maybe they’ll find something different they need to manage and treat too.

Whatever we find, these regular checks are essential to help prevent problems before they can occur, to help find any conditions as early as possible and do something about them, and to keep on top of any long-term conditions.

Simply put, regular checkups are the best way to help you and your vet keep your pets as healthy and happy as possible, for as long as possible.

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.


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.