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Autumnal Pets

Well, autumn is well and truly with us now – the autumn storms are raging as we’re huddled around the laptop writing! However, storms aside, autumn brings its own hazards and pet health concerns – so in this blog, we’re going to talk about a few of them, and how we can help keep our pets healthy as the weather gets colder and the nights draw in.

Conkers

Conkers, the nuts of the horse-chestnut tree, are particularly dangerous to dogs, and are in great profusion at the moment! For some reason, some dogs seem to love them – which isn’t great, because they are actually quite toxic. While a dog has to eat several to be poisoned, the effects can be quite nasty. Typical symptoms of aesculin (the toxic chemical) poisoning include vomiting and diarrhoea (which may be bloody), abdominal pain, and sometimes difficulty balancing or muscle tremors.
However, a more common risk if the conkers are swallowed is that they may block the bowel, leading to severe, unremitting vomiting, pain, dehydration and shock. In these cases, dogs need emergency surgery to remove them from the bowel, and repair any damage to the gut lining caused by their spiky cases.
Bottom line – try to keep conkers away from dogs, especially dogs with a tendency to gobble first and ask questions later!

Fallen leaves

As the season progresses, the beautiful yellows and reds of leaves on the trees leave behind stark branches as the wind blows them away. However, they do accumulate – typically in the edges of paths, parks, fields and roads. This can pose several hazards to our pets. Firstly, leaves on roads make it much harder for cars to brake fast if needed – so it’s essential to keep dogs under close control when walking near traffic, as the drivers won’t be able to stop as quickly if your pooch runs out in front of them.
Secondly, things can be hidden away in the leaf litter – including faeces (which dogs may try to roll in or eat) and sleepy hedgehogs, trying to find somewhere to hide away. Sadly, some dogs rooting through the litter see hedgehogs as a tasty snack, and while this is disastrous for the poor crunched hedgepig, it can also lead to an emergency visit to us to de-spine your dog’s mouth.
Finally, wet lead mould is the perfect environment for toadstools to grow – and while most are harmless, some are quite toxic to dogs, and a few can be fatal.
As a result, we advise that rooting through the litter should generally be discouraged for everyone’s sake!

Dark nights (and mornings!)

Outdoor living cats, and dogs being walked, are at much higher risk in the dark, as they often can’t be seen until it’s too late. Owners who walk their pets all warmly wrapped up in dark clothing are also in danger, as it’s surprisingly hard for a driver to see them in the dark sometimes!
As a result, we strongly recommend the use of reflective and dayglo gear – coats or tabards for you, harnesses for dogs, and safety collars for cats. If you can be seen, you can be avoided.

Cold and wet weather

Cold, wet and windy weather can make anyone feel down – but older pets with arthritis or similar joint problems can really suffer at this time of year. It’s really important to keep their joints moving. The joint fluid actually provides nutrients to the joint tissues, so prolonged inactivity actually makes the pain worse – which is why they are often stiff and sore immediately after getting up, but it wears off quickly. However, overdoing it will also tend to make things worse. Little and often is the key! However, there are a wide range of things we can do to help arthritic pets, so if your dog, cat or rabbit seems a bit stiff in the mornings, pop them down for us to check over – arthritis is incurable, but very manageable, to give your pets a long and comfortable life.

If you’re at all worried about your pets, please make an appointment to get them checked out by one of our vets!

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Reducing Firework Fear in Pets

The leaves are changing colour, the shorts have been put away, and the garden furniture has been blown over again; it’s definitely autumn! Autumn is a time of celebration, with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night just a few weeks away, and Christmas just around the corner after that. It’s also a time where you’ll hear a lot more bangs, and see flashes in the sky at night, because it’s firework season! Firework displays are wonderful to watch, and we always feel in awe when they go off. However, back at home, your dogs, cats and other pets may not be having such fun. The sudden loud noises can cause fear, stress and related health problems, which can be hard to manage. You may not be considered the best neighbour if you try and stop the displays, so what can you do to help reduce firework fear in your pets?

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Rollo’s Kinder ‘Surprise’!

Name: Rollo

Breed: Dalmatian

Age: 2 years 5 months

Most vets worry about dogs eating chocolate as it’s toxic to them, but Rollo decided to go one better with a chocolate egg.

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The benefits of neutering – greater than the risks?

We’re seeing more and more material on the internet at the moment, suggesting that “neutering is bad for dogs’ health”. Increasingly, people are opting out of neutering their dogs – and even, to a lesser extent, cats and rabbits – on the grounds that it is “bad for them” in some way. Well, in this blog we’re going to take a look at the evidence, to explain why we still recommend neutering in most cases!

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How To Care for Your Senior Cat

Whether you’ve decided to adopt a senior cat or that kitten you brought home years ago has finally reached its golden years, you probably already know what good companions older cats can be.

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How to Exercise Your Pet

In order to remain healthy, all animals need to exercise. Dogs need to go on runs, cats need to be able to play, and hamsters need to spin on wheels.

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4 Most Dangerous Pet Food Ingredients

It’s easy for pet food companies to include buzz words on their packaging, such as natural or premium. This clever tactic can fool consumers into thinking that they are purchasing healthy and safe foods for their pets.

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Tips For Moving With Pets

Moving is a big transition for people and their pets. During this time, pets can become anxious and fearful. They may exhibit unusual behavior, seem to change personalities, or even run away. Pets need special attention during a move.