Posts Tagged ‘pets’

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, take your shoes off and try walking or standing on the pavement – you will soon know if it would burn their paws! 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 they are fully vaccinated (you can get the extra kennel cough vaccine for your dog), flea treated and wormed before they go in, you don’t want them to come out sick or infested! We have our own Kennel and Cattery in Chingford, East London for peace of mind.

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. Pets must have a passport 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).

How to have a Pet-Friendly Christmas

For most humans, Christmas is when we meet up with friends, celebrate with rich food and drink, put up sparkling decorations and have a wonderful time! However, for our pets, it can be really tough. Stress from strangers in the house, a change of routine, unexpected hazards from decorations and tasty foods that prove to have nasty toxic side effects. So, what can we do to make the festive season pet-friendly?


MINIMISE STRESS

“God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay…” But all those merry gentlemen certainly can dismay our pets! Almost all of them find the presence of strange people in the house stressful. Dogs may respond to this by aggression, destructive behaviours or hiding; rabbits freeze and try and stay motionless; whereas cats are more likely to start urine spraying, hide or just vanish for the duration. However, even an apparently excited and waggy dog may not be as happy as they seem – while some dogs genuinely do love company, others try and cope with the stress by being extra friendly.

Ideally, you should avoid putting your pet into a stressful situation at all. This means allowing them to have their own quiet space, away from people, minimising the amount of interaction with strangers (so those festive cat and dog costumes probably aren’t a good idea) and, as far as possible, keeping to their normal routine.

However, they aren’t going to be able to avoid the holiday season completely, so you will also have to look at managing their stress. For dogs and cats, the best approach is the use of pheromones – Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs. Sadly, there aren’t any products designed specifically for rabbits, but if your pet is really suffering, whatever their species, bring them down to see us and our vets can prescribe anti-anxiety medications that are very effective in the short-term.

AVOID ORNAMENT INJURIES

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly…” And fir trees, glass and plastic ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, lights and candles. All lovely to look at, all potentially dangerous! Cats often like to play with bright shiny things, but they can easily get themselves cut (on a broken glass bauble, for example) or burned by candle flames or hot fairy lights. Cats also love to play pounce with tinsel and ribbons, but if swallowed they can form a “linear foreign body”, cutting into the intestinal walls. find out more about what you can do with advice from Cats Protection

Dogs, on the other hand, are more likely to try eating things – and any ornament can cause an intestinal blockage, or break and cut the mouth or bowel.

Christmas trees are a particular threat, as to cats they are nice climbing frames (potentially resulting in it raining cats as well as needles), while to dogs they are a convenient urinal (which may result in electric shocks in a rather unfortunate location).

The simplest way to avoid injuries is by preventing pets from having any unsupervised contact with ornaments or decorations!

PREVENT POISONING

“So bring us a figgy pudding, so bring us a figgy pudding, so bring us a figgy pudding and bring it out here…” Sadly, so many of our festive favourites can be toxic to our pets. Most people know how dangerous chocolate is for dogs (and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is). However, did you know that coffee, peanuts, Macadamia nuts, onions, and even raisins and dried fruit are all poisonous to dogs and cats? So no slices of Christmas pudding, mince pies, festive nuts, sage and onion stuffing for our pets! The Dogs Trust have created a Doggy Christmas Menu – especially designed with dogs in mind!

In addition, cooked bones are highly dangerous as they can splinter in the mouth or gut, leading to sharp wounds and even perforated bowels. So, watch out for left-over turkey carcasses!

Finally, be very careful not to give them too much rich food and treats – dogs and cats do not thrive on rapidly changing diets, and a sudden change can lead to nasty vomiting and diarrhoea. Likewise, rabbits shouldn’t have too many seeds and treats, but make sure they have plenty of good quality hay.


Christmas with pets can be great fun for both of you, but you do have to take certain precautions! If in doubt, contact your local Goddard vet for more advice.

Common Toxins Dangerous To Your Pet

Certain types of food and household items can be unknowingly toxic to your pet — read our list of the most common toxins dangerous to your pet below.

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.


FOOD AND PLANT TOXINS

  • 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 and rabbits. Avocados contain a substance called persin which is highly toxic.
  • 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.

HOUSEHOLD TOXINS

  • 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 Insurance

People tend to think it’s only older pets that get ill and therefore younger pets don’t need pet insurance but we know from the patients we see each day that that is not the case.


In fact, the younger your pet is when you insure them the better as it means you are less likely to have any existing conditions, which may not be covered by the policy and you can then receive more help covering the cost of any future treatment your pet needs.

It is important to note that not all pet insurance is the same. There are many different types of policy available and the level of cover provided can vary considerably.

The four main types of policy are as follows:

  • Accident : provides cover for accidents only and no cover for illness
  • Time-Limited: provides cover for a set amount of time (usually 12 months) and after this period the condition is excluded
  • Maximum Benefit : provides cover up to a maximum amount of money per condition and once this limit is reached the condition is excluded
  • Lifetime: provides a set amount of money each year which is refreshed each time you renew your policy allowing you to continue to claim for ongoing conditions

As you can see from the information above, the type of policy you choose can have implications for the veterinary care of your pet and the costs you will face so it’s important to choose the right cover. Sometimes, the cheapest insurance can cost you more in the long run.

When shopping around for a policy, we suggest that you ask the following questions to allow you to compare the overall value you are getting, not just the price:

  1. Does this policy cover congenital, hereditary, hip-related, dental and behavioral conditions?
  2. Is there a time or monetary limit on how long this policy will cover ongoing conditions for?
  3. If I claim, will my premium increase?

Unlike other forms of insurance it is not easy to switch pet insurance in the future as any pre-existing conditions your pet has are likely to be excluded so it’s important to do your research and choose the right cover from the start.

How can veterinary nurses help with preventative health?

Veterinary nurses play a large role in helping and advising pet owners with the care and well-being of their animals. We are proud of our veterinary nursing team at Goddard Veterinary Group, and the passion they have for the health of your pets. Part of that role includes advising on preventative healthcare – keeping your pets in the best health before problems arise.


Diet

There are so many diets on the market for pets it is really difficult to know where to begin! Our nurses can advise you on the best diets for your pet’s specific breed, age and the recommended feeding amount.

If your pet is overweight and should ideally be fed a smaller amount or given a calorie reduced diet, our nurses will be happy to advise and weigh them. They can further advise on maintaining their weight, when they reach their target.

Preventing obesity in pets can help lengthen their lives and dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and joint pain, among other conditions.

Fleas and worms

Almost every pet will end up with these critters at some point in their lives. Preventing them is much better than having your pet playing host to them. If you suspect your pet has fleas for example, our nurses can take a look at their coats and search for tell-tale signs.

Worms, of course, are a lot more difficult. However, there are symptoms that can point to a worm problem. Goddard’s veterinary nurses can explain the life-cycle of these parasites, and the best ways to avoid having both your pet and your home infested with them.

When it comes to fleas and worms it really is worth preventing them – the cost of treating a skin condition caused by fleas for example, far outweighs the price of flea treatment!

Vaccinations

Although it is our vets that vaccinate your animals, our nurses can give you advice and guidance on the types of diseases that pets can be vaccinated against. No one wants to have a pet with a potentially life-threatening disease, and vaccination can prevent that from happening.

Nails

It is our senior pets that we find can have a problem with their toenails, simply because they won’t tend to wear them down as easily as younger pets. Senior pets are normally less active, often choosing softer ground to walk on, whereas a puppy that tears about on all types of ground will have a pedicure naturally! This is why preventing nails from overgrowing and making your pet uncomfortable is important. Our nurses can check your pet’s toenails and trim them if necessary.

It’s not just dogs either, cats too can have this problem especially if they have gone off using the scratch post. Our nurses will also make sure the dew claws are a comfortable length, in extreme cases these can curl around and dig into the pad, even leading to infection.

Microchipping

As of April 2016 all dogs over age of eight weeks in the UK, are required by law to have a microchip.  These tiny devices, about the size of a grain of rice, can help you and your pet to be reunited if they happen to get lost. A microchip is also a requirement for a pet passport.

No responsible owner would want to lose their pet and our nurses can help advise about microchipping, preventing this from happening. At present there is no law about cats being microchipped, but we strongly advise this is well – in fact almost any animal species could be microchipped!

One thing you may hear our nurses and vets reiterate, is keeping your contact details up to date for the microchip, especially if you move home!

Teeth

Our nurses can give all sorts of advice about preventative health when it comes to your pet’s teeth. From brushing techniques to dental products, they can help advise on keeping your pet’s teeth pearly white. Dental health is very important as poor teeth can affect other parts of the body, including major organs, through infection and toxins in the bloodstream.

Pets even at the age of 4-5 years can start to suffer with dental disease, so it’s very important to get the advice as early as possible on helping to keep their teeth sparkling!

With advice from our team of nurses (and vets) on preventative health, your pets can really benefit. Be sure to ask us if any health aspect of your pet worries you — we’ll be happy to help.


Don’t forget Goddard Veterinary Group’s healthcare plan, ProActive Pets. The scheme provides discounts on your pet’s preventative healthcare, allowing you to spread the cost throughout the year.