Posts Tagged ‘pet’

What should I feed my dog?

There are a couple of age old mantras such as “you are what you eat” and “food is medicine”,  both used to deliver the message that our nutrition and our diet, has a major impact on our health. It’s the same story for our pets — so what should I feed my dog we hear you say? 


HOW OLD IS YOUR DOG?

Human infants and toddlers have different dietary needs to the likes of teenagers and OAPS as they are at different stages of their lives — it’s the same for dogs. A young puppy needs lots of energy, protein and calcium for growth of muscle, tissue and bone. An older dog, perhaps starting to slow down, needs rather fewer calories.

WHAT BREED IS YOUR DOG?

The difference in size and shape of the jaw may mean that different sizes or shapes of kibble are more easier to chew — this is particularly true of smaller short-nosed dogs, who can really struggle with some sizes of kibbles.

Endurance dog breeds such as Collies are “always on the go” whereas smaller and toy breeds (such as Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas) tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle — which can dramatically impact on their calorie requirements.

HOW BIG IS YOUR DOG?

The adult body size of your dog can affect their growth rate, and their dietary needs, when they are younger. But alongside this, several scientific studies have found evidence which suggests that food moves relatively more quickly through a smaller sized dog, than through a large sized dog, meaning more frequent meals may be needed, or a diet with a different fibre content.

WHAT KIND OF LIFESTYLE DOES YOUR DOG HAVE?

Top performing human athletes require very different diets from your normal office worker — in the dog world a good equivalent example would be the Labrador Retriever. A working Labrador will have different needs to a couch cuddling Lab. Remember, too, that where they live is important! A dog who lives in a kennel probably needs more calories than one who sleeps indoors by the fire, for example.

What should I feed my dog?

DOES YOUR DOG HAVE ANY DIETARY SENSITIVITIES?

Some dogs can suffer from allergies and intolerances to certain components of a diet, causing itchy skin or upset tummies for example. Understanding your dogs specific needs, things to avoid, and even methods by which diets are made, all helps to select the right diet.

DOES YOUR DOG HAVE ANY MEDICAL NEEDS?

Some diets are “prescription diets” which have scientific proof demonstrating that they help to control or prevent health issues such as bladder stones, kidney problems or liver issues. Other diets are formulated to include nutrients which may help manage things like arthritis.

COMPLETE DIET OR COMPLEMENTARY DIET?

These two terms sound very similar but what you may not know is that there is a very important difference. The term “complete diet” is a legally protected term in the EU, and using it means that by law, that diet must contain the required energy and nutrients (vitamins, minerals etc.) in the correct proportions. A complementary diet doesn’t have to meet these requirements.

Feeding a complete diet is essential to provide everything your animal needs. When a diet provides too much of something, it can lead to toxicities. For example, dogs fed too much Vitamin D can ultimately suffer from kidney failure. This is one reason it’s important not to feed too much offal in a raw diet.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SAFE HANDLING AND STORAGE OF THE DIET?

Some diets (especially raw ones) may require you to keep in the fridge or freezer, and may have a specific time period for consumption. Feeding these diets may also mean accepting an increased risk of encountering some bacteria which can be harmful to humans such as E.coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella .

The best way to minimise this risk is to change your usual hygiene practices when preparing a pets meal and when cleaning up faeces, to minimise the exposure of you or your family to the bacteria.


Every dog is an individual with their own specific needs and no-one knows those needs better than you and your vet. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by choice, or just looking for the best diet for your pet,  book an appointment with a member of our team. we can discuss a unique individual nutritional assessment for your pet and then recommend a refined range of diet options available to you.

How do I go about getting a pet passport?

Travelling with your pet can be a great experience and means that you can enjoy your holiday with your pet. A pet passport can be obtained for cats, dogs and ferrets – and allows travel between certain countries. You will need to check whether you are travelling to an EU, listed non-EU, or unlisted non EU country as the regulations will differ. If travelling to an unlisted non-EU country the requirements are a little more complicated and will take more time so you will need to plan accordingly.

Also, remember that your pet passport is to allow you to re-enter the UK. Other countries – in particular unlisted non-EU countries – will have their own entry requirements, that you may have to comply with. This is, by example, really important for entry into Australia or New Zealand, who have very strict disease control policies in place.

In order to obtain a pet passport you will need to book an appointment with one of our vets. Check that the vet that you will be seeing has OV (Official Veterinarian) status to legally provide a pet passport and will be available on the day of your appointment. Most of our vets do have this qualification (which they have to renew periodically), but do make sure that our receptionists are aware that you will need certain documents that only they can sign.

Your pet will receive a full health check to ensure that they have no health concerns and are fit to travel. They must be over the age of 15 weeks at the time of travelling; this is to help prevent illegal movement of puppies and kittens.

Hopefully your pet is already microchipped, if not they will need to have one placed in the scruff of their neck for identification purposes. This number will be recorded in their pet passport, along with a written description of them.

Your pet will then need to have a vaccination against Rabies. If the vaccination is given in the UK, it usually lasts 3 years before they require a booster. However, the vaccine takes a few weeks to “take” and become fully effective. As a result, your pet cannot return to the UK until 21 days have passed after having the rabies vaccination, when travelling from EU and listed countries. This means it is sensible to get everything done at least a month or more in advance of your planned trip.

You also need to consider that your pet will be required to travel via an approved transport route and with an approved company. Additionally, you will have to travel with them – if this is not possible, you will need additional paperwork to allow another person to accompany them.

Before returning to the UK, any dogs in your party will need to have a worming tablet administered by vet in the country you are travelling back from, given 1-5 days before re-entry to the UK. This is to prevent a type of tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) that can infect humans from being brought into this country by infected dogs, and it will need to be noted in their pet passport.

We strongly advise that you research the potential parasite and disease threats in the country you are travelling to, to ensure your pets are protected. For most countries, tick cover would be strongly recommended as they carry a number of significant diseases; in southern Europe, dogs should also have sandfly protection to reduce the risk of heartworm and Leishmaniasis.

Failure to meet regulations could result in your pet being quarantined on returning to the UK – which could potentially be months, so do check the gov.uk website for the most up to date information.

Need more advice? Give us a ring and we’ll be able to point you in the right direction!