Pet Advice

Pet Emergencies and First Aid

By: Fiona Mullan RVN

It can be an extremely frightening and stressful time when a pet is injured, suddenly falls ill, or has been involved in an accident. Listed below are common pet emergencies, along with some first aid advice to follow in each situation.

If possible, try and keep a stocked up ‘pet first aid kit’ at home or in the car (with various size bandaging materials, sterile dressings, tape and scissors) and keep your vets contact number to hand at all times.

Road Traffic Accidents

  • Approach the pet only if safe to do so, talk to them slowly and calmly.
  • Apply a lead to secure dogs straight away.
  • Assess the state of the injuries and try not to move the pet too much to avoid causing further pain or injury.
  • If bleeding, apply clean swabs/clothing to the wound and hold pressure
  • Use a blanket to lift and transport them, and take them to the nearest vets as soon as possible.


Seizures can occur for a number of reasons and present in a variety of signs. These include; dazed, unsteady, collapse, muscle tremors, twitching, rigid limbs/body, loss of consciousness, drooling, foaming at the mouth, loss of bladder/bowel control.
  • Do not attempt to restrain, pick up, or transport your pet during a seizure. They are not in control of their body, and may injure or bite you by accident.
  • Move furniture and objects away from your pet that may cause injury.
  • Reduce noise as much as possible-turn off radios, TV etc, dim lights and continue to talk to your pet calmly to reassure them.
  • Try and record the time and duration of the seizure. If possible video the seizure to show your vet.
  • Keep your pet as cool as possible as they can overheat, but do not soak them.
  • Contact your vet as soon as possible but only transport when it safe to do so

Cuts and grazes

  • If the wound is actively bleeding, apply clean gauze swabs or piece of clothing and apply pressure. If possible, apply a bandage to the wound ensuring it is firm but not too tight. Contact your vet as soon as possible.
  • If the wound is small and not bleeding, keep it as clean with warm salty water, and make a normal appointment with your vet.


Common poisonings often involve chocolate, raisins/sultanas, grapes, rat poison, slug bait and lilies.
  • Remove source of toxin immediately if possible
  • DO NOT attempt to make your pet vomit at home
  • Contact your vet as soon as possible and give them as much information as you can about the toxin (time eaten, ingredients, volume eaten etc) before you arrive
  • Keep all packaging (where applicable) and take it with you to the vet

Theft And Your Pet's Safety

By Fiona Mullan BSc (Hons) VPAC RVN

These days it is a sad and familiar sight on social media to see missing pet photographs, stolen posters and rewards offered for beloved furry family members who have been stolen from home.

Pet thefts are increasingly on the rise, and it is not just dogs that are regular targets.

Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, fish, birds and other exotic pets all have a profit and purpose for the opportunist and organised pet thief.

The Blue Cross reports an alarming 40% increase in thefts over the last three years, and sadly 54% of owners will never see their pet again.

Why are dogs stolen?

Some reasons they are stolen is for breeding, dog fighting, sale profit and for the reward profit.

  • 52% from gardens
  • 19% during break-ins
  • 16% on walks
  • 7% outside shops
  • 5% from vehicles
    (Taken from

What breeds of dogs and cats are most targeted?

Cats - Pedigree breeds such as Bengals, Maine Coons, Persians, and Siamese

Dogs - Staffordshire bull terriers, Labradors, Spaniels, Chihuahuas/toy breeds

How can we reduce the risk of pet theft?

  • Be aware of your surroundings and don’t let your dog wander too far
  • Mix your route and walk time, avoid a regimented pattern
  • Be wary of strangers asking too many questions about your pet
  • Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop, a ‘few minutes’ is all it takes
  • Secure your property and do not leave dogs alone in the garden
  • Padlock gates, small pet hutches and install adequate security lighting
  • Take regular photos of your pets
  • Keep your pet’s microchip details up to date

Despite vigilant efforts, there is no way to guarantee your pet is safe from theft, and in the worst case scenario it is important to remain calm and act quickly.

If the worst happens; Contact the police immediately, Register your pet as stolen with your Microchip Company, Alert local vets, dog wardens and rescue centres, Generate a profile for your pet on a lost pet website, Distribute posters, Use SOCIAL MEDIA-Thousands of people could potentially see your posts all across the country free of charge.

Lastly stay positive and please don’t give up hope!

Tick Season

Dr. Kathryn Miller MRCVS

As the weather gets warmer and your pets are outside enjoying walks on the lovely trails and in the woods and parks it is time to consider tick season. We encourage you to start thinking about protecting your pets from these pesky pests.

You can see in this picture how the head is burrowed under the skin.

Ticks are small parasites that attach to your animal's skin and feed from their blood. Often animals will not show many signs of being bothered by ticks, but a large tick infestation can cause anaemia and some ticks carry potentially fatal diseases which they can transmit to a pet as they feed.

How to prevent tick diseases:

  • Check your pet each time they come in from outside. Ticks look like little warts in the skin but look closely you will see wiggling legs. Animals that spend time in woods and long grass are most at risk.
  • If you see a tick then the tick needs to be removed carefully - it is important to ensure that the head (which is burrowed under the skin) does not detach as this can cause infection. If you are not sure how to remove ticks correctly it is best to visit us and have one of our nurses or vets remove the tick safely.
  • Prevention is always better than cure! There are many tick products available. Some will kill a tick within 48 hours - however this is plenty of time for the tick to transmit disease. Better products repel the ticks to stop them attaching in the first place.

We stock top quality products and will be able to advise you on what products are right for your pet. We know the history of your pet(s) and will be happy to help provide the best solution to keep them healthy.

Myth busters

Dr. Kathryn Miller

With so much information available it can be hard to know what is best for your pets! We hear many ‘urban legends’ and ‘old wives tales’ with regards to pet health care – some of these are genuinely good ideas whereas others are downright dangerous!

Here are some useful home tips and some common myths:

  • “Salted water is good for cleaning small wounds/scrapes”
    TRUE. However, if a wound is large or not healing within a few days then it is advisable to attend a veterinary consultation.
  • “Garlic repels/kill fleas”
    FALSE. Rubbing garlic powder into your pets coat/feeing your pet garlic has little effect on parasites but can cause anaemia (a potentially dangerous blood disorder).
  • “My animal lives indoors so does not need flea treatment”
    FALSE. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your clothing, and then hop off onto your pet to feed. After a blood meal the flea will begin laying hundreds of eggs in your home and an infestation can set up without your pet ever leaving the house.
  • “My dog is scooting; s/he might have worms”
    TRUE. However, be aware that scooting can also indicate a problem with the anal glands or an underlying skin condition. If it does not resolve within 24 hours after worming then a veterinary visit is recommended.

The best advice is always to call us and one of our vets will be happy to give you guidance that is safe and tailored your beloved pet’s specific needs.

Daffodils are toxic to pets!

Spring is finally here and the beautiful spring flowers are beginning to bloom.

Did you know that daffodils are toxic to cats and dogs!

Please remember to be vigilant with your pets and watch what they may eat as some plants are very toxic to pets.

Even a small amount may be dangerous so it is best not to take any chances.

Symptoms to watch for include:
  • Breathing problems Lethargy
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure


Puppy vaccination and socialisation

As part of the primary vaccination course, your puppy will be vaccinated against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Leptospirosis at 8 weeks old; followed by a Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis booster at 10 weeks and a Leptospirosis booster at 12 weeks.

Technically, your puppy will not be fully immunised against those disease until 2 weeks after their final puppy vaccine; that is at 14 weeks old. However, it is also vitally important to socialise your puppy during this time.

Socialisation is a vital process during which a puppy learns how to interact with other dogs, with people and with their environment. The key sensitive period for socialisation occurs between 3 and 16 weeks of age. As we live in a relatively low risk area for the diseases that we vaccinate dogs against, we therefore recommend waiting 48 hours after their first vaccine, then starting 'lead walking' on pavements and in wooded areas.

It is safe for your puppy to socialise with other vaccinated dogs, and we strongly encourage attending our puppy parties during which they will learn to interact and play with other vaccinated puppies of a similar age. It is advised however to stay away from waterways, farmyards and marshland areas until two weeks after the final Leptospirosis vaccine has been given, as this disease is known to be transmitted via waterways and rodent urine.

Please feel free to talk to one of our vets or nurses if you have any questions.

Summertime Fun... Pets feel the heat!

As summer arrives, we look forward to being outside enjoying the sunshine and travelling around to pretty summer locations. Our pets enjoy it too - but let us not forget the impact of the sun on our furry friends as we all enjoy a pet safe summertime!

Some summertime pet hints

  • Walk wisely! Try to walk your dog at the cooler times of day, either early morning or early evening rather than in the midday sun.
  • Paws for thought - If the pavement is too hot for you to touch or stand on bare foot, it is too hot for their feet to walk on. Where possible walk your dog on the grass.
  • Water water everywhere - Always ensure your pet has access to fresh, clean and topped up water. Try to take an extra bottle with you when out on those long dog walks.
  • Never leave your pet in the car! It is true that 'dogs die in hot cars', but this applies to any pet confined in a car on a warm day. Cars can reach oven like temperatures inside, even in relatively mild temperatures outside. Leaving a window open or parking in 'the shade' will not create enough airflow to cool your pet, so even a few minutes can be dangerous.
  • Use Sun cream. Yes, really! Pets can burn just like us, particularly on the tips of their ears, noses and bellies or any areas that aren't well covered by fur. White cats in particular are at risk of burning and getting skin cancer.
  • Please don't forget your small furries! Move hutches out of direct sunlight and with enough air circulation. Replenish water frequently and ensure water bottles and bowls are kept cool by adding ice cubes to the water. You can also freeze a two-litre bottle of water and wrap it in a towel so they have something cool to rest against.

What are the signs of Heat stroke?

  • Excessive panting
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapsing
  • Incoordination
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Staggering

If your pet is showing any signs of heat stroke, take your pet inside, offer them water, use wet towels with cool water and apply it to their skin (do not submerge them). Heat stroke can progress quickly and be fatal to your pet should immediate attention not be sought.

When Flystrike Strikes!

By: Fiona Mullan BSc Hons RVN VPAC

Flystrike or Myiasis is a condition in which flies lay eggs on an animal, which then hatch into maggots that proceed to feed on their flesh. In other words the animal is literally eaten alive.

This condition can affect any susceptible animal. However in small animal practice, rabbits are sadly most commonly affected. Flystrike commonly starts around the bottom/genital region, but if untreated will spread very rapidly.

Why does Flystrike happen?

Flies are attracted to urine/faeces and damp and soiled fur on the animal. Therefore a rabbit hutch in warm weather is the perfect breeding ground for them to thrive. Rabbits that are unwell, overweight or arthritic will also be more likely to get flystrike. This is because they may have diarrhoea, be unable to groom, or have mobility issues and so will be unable to move away from soiled areas as easily.

What can I do to prevent Flystrike?

  • Check and clean your rabbit’s accommodation daily
  • Check your rabbit’s fur for any soiling, paying particular attention to their back end for any sign of eggs/ maggots. In warm weather this should be done at least TWICE daily.
  • Take your rabbit for regular vet checks to keep on top of conditions that may make them more susceptible
  • Ask your vet about a topical flystrike preventative and use as directed
  • Keep your rabbits coat well groomed. Urine and faeces easily get stuck to thick/ matted coats, and it will be harder to check for signs of fly eggs.

What should I do if my animal has flystrike?

CALL US IMMEDIATELY - DO NOT WAIT! This is an emergency and without prompt treatment, could be fatal. Maggots take very little time to do great damage, and sadly in some cases, the damage is so severe that the rabbit will have to be euthanased.

Cases that are caught promptly, will need all maggots removed from the skin and the wounds assessed and cleaned. The rabbit will likely require hospitalisation for pain relief, fluids and antibiotics.

Pet Care Myths and Tips

By Dr. Kat Miller MRCVS

We hear so many ‘urban myths’ and ‘old-wives-tales’ at work; many of them are not detrimental to a pets’ health but others can be extremely dangerous!

Below are some common myths busted as well as some of our best home care tips:

  • Myth – I should routinely bathe my pet.
    Routine bathing can strip the natural oils from your pet’s coat, making them more at risk of suffering from dandruff and skin conditions. It is much better to brush your pets coat daily to help stimulate these natural oils. If your pet does roll in something ‘unsavoury’ then ensure you use a pet specific shampoo, not a human or even baby shampoo.
  • Myth – It is good for an animal to lick at a wound.
    Certainly not! Consider what area your pet was licking just moments before! Your pet’s mouth is full of bacteria and if your pet has a wound then this can very quickly become inflamed and infected if licked at.
  • Top Dental Tip
    Daily teeth brushing is a fantastic way to reduce dental disease in your pet. Plaque and bacteria builds up in your pet’s mouth daily. Brushing your animal’s teeth (with pet specific toothpaste) is the best way of removing this dirt, keeping teeth and gums healthy and reducing the risk of dental treatment.
  • Top Dog Weight Tip
    If you have a dog that struggles with his/her weight, then feed bits of raw carrot as a treat rather than a doggy biscuit. Many dogs love the taste and will work really well for them, but they have many fewer calories.

Pet ‘M.O.T.’

Dr. Kathryn Miller

It is never too late to organise your pet’s annual ‘M.O.T.’ and ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

A routine check-up is a great way to ensure your pet is in optimum health and can allow your vet to detect signs of problems that are on the horizon, possibly sparing you the trauma of an emergency visit later on. It is also a great time to ensure that your pet’s preventative health plan is up to date, including vaccines and anti-parasite treatment.

Vaccinations help protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases. Kittens & puppies require a ‘primary course’ when they are young which involves multiple injections at specific timings to prime their immune system – talk to your vet to see what schedule they recommend. Puppies are routinely vaccinated against: distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis and canine hepatitis. Kittens are routinely vaccinated against: cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia virus. Talk to us about our Puppy and Kitten Packages to save some money for your new addition.

Following the primary course your pet will require annual ‘booster’ vaccines to keep their immunity at a safe level. Without boosters their immunity will wane and they are at risk of contracting diseases. We are very careful to avoid over vaccination – we give a slightly different vaccine each year to ensure that your pets schedule is tailored to exactly what they require and nothing more. That’s why your vet always checks your pet’s records to see what has been given over the last few years.

Rabies and kennel cough vaccinations are not ‘routine’ but speak to us to see if your pet could benefit from these additional vaccines.

Smart Pet Health

Dr. Kathryn Miller

You love your pets and want what is best for them while also saving money. Prevention and good nutrition is the key!

Pets today can live longer healthier lives than ever before largely due to the advances in veterinary medicine, diagnostics and vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Many infectious diseases still pose a threat to dogs and cats that aren’t vaccinated but not every pet needs every available vaccine. Your pet’s unique circumstances are considered when determining which vaccines are best for your pet.

Like people, pets need a good diet and regular exercise to live healthy longer lives. Good nutrition is vital throughout their life from enabling them to grow and develop when young to preventing and fighting disease when older. Many serious health conditions can develop as a result of poor weight control, some being: joint strain, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing difficulties and generally a poor quality of life.

Pet weight management must be done carefully. If weight reduction is too rapid, conditions such as hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) or diabetes may occur, requiring aggressive and expensive medical treatment.

Let our vets help you establish a preventative health and nutrition plan just right for you and your pet!

Holiday Season Pet Travel

Summer is a popular time to take holidays away from home but you might find it stressful considering being away because you want your pets to enjoy this time with you. The PETS travel scheme makes it easy for your dog (or cat) to come along on vacation with you - so long as they meet certain criteria.

Your pet will need to be issued a passport, a microchip and a rabies vaccination. Your pet will then need to wait 21 days until he or she can travel, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of planning time! In order to re-enter the UK at the end of the holiday your dog will need to see a vet to have a tapeworm tablet administered.

Although not a legal requirement, it is recommended that your pet is up to date with their annual vaccinations as well as flea and tick treatments to protect them from catching exotic diseases. Extra protection against diseases that are not within the UK may also be required, for example leishmania and heartworm. Speak to one of our vets for advice.

If you are travelling outside of the EU the process of preparing your pet can take longer and a blood test after the rabies vaccination may be required. A health certificate may be required and a vet may need to certify that your animal is fit to travel.

If you are thinking of taking your pet abroad talk to us as soon as possible to ensure you leave yourself enough time to prepare your pet for travel. We are happy to help prepare your pet for travel and wish you happy travelling!

Fighting the Pet Paunch!

As with people, obesity is a growing problem and a serious health risk facing our pets!

It is estimated that almost half of the pets in the UK are overweight, whilst 2 in 3 owners believe that their pet to be the correct weight (

Of course this is not intentional. We are a nation of animal lovers, and we would not knowingly put them at risk of conditions such as Arthritis, Diabetes, Respiratory distress or Heart disease. However, overfeeding and i nadequate exercise means these issues are common and we are shortening our pet's lifespan.

Where are we going wrong?

In most cases, owners just aren't sure how much to feed. It is easy to 'guestimate' food portions with a 'handful' here and a 'bowlful' there, but unless we check and adhere to feeding guidelines on the food packaging, there is no way of knowing how much they are getting and the pounds will soon pile on!

It is also too easy to give the 'odd biscuit' or 'slither' from the table when we see those 'puppy eyes', but all these extra treats, combined with their main allowance is just adding extra calories they don't need.

What weight should my pet be?

We recommend speaking to one of our vets or veterinary nurses as they will be able to look at your pets history and very importantly they will know about your pets medical condition. They will assess your pet as an individual-checking their shape and body condition to give you a healthy target weight. We hold Free Nurse clinics so our nurses can guide you through a weight loss programme if required at no cost to you.

General tips for healthy weight management

  • Don't guess portion size when it comes to feeding- check the packaging and weigh out accurately.
  • Avoid too many treats, and reduce your pet's main meal if they have had lots of 'extras'.
  • Feed your pets top quality nutritious food. Remember we offer great discounts to our Pet Health Club members and when you visit our ONLINE shop.
  • Increase exercise and play where possible. We all know that cats are harder to exercise than dogs, but the use of toys on strings, laser pens, crinkle balls and providing a cat scratching tree with toys attached are all great ways to get them moving!
  • Talk to your family, friends and neighbours who might be giving them treats. Help them understand what you're trying to do for your pet and politely request they don't give treats or meals without first talking to you.
  • Regularly monitor your pet's weight – as we all know pounds creep up!
  • Attend our weight clinic and ask us for advice on feeding and dieting.

Together we can help your pets, big and small, life healthier longer lives.

Pesky Pet Parasites!

As we head out of the summer months, most owners will be relaxing their pet's parasite preventatives since they believe parasites to be a summer problem - unfortunately this is FALSE!

Whilst it is true that parasites, such as fleas, thrive in warmer conditions they also love warm and cosy houses and can lay dormant in the environment - in carpets, floor boards and anywhere else they are left undisturbed.

Therefore if you want a parasite free home, treatment needs to be regularly applied ALL year round.

What parasite preventatives should I use?

The best advice is to speak to one of our Vets or Veterinary nurses who will assess your animal as an individual, and then devise a protection plan based on their lifestyle. We will carefully consider any parasite risk currently in your area.

There are so many products available on the market, from 'spot ons' and tablets to collars and injections, and to make life more complicated no one product treats all parasites, so a particular combination is required.

It may seem more expensive but going to the vets first off will save you a fortune on ineffective and unreliable products bought from pet shops or supermarkets.

I've never seen fleas on my pet, my pet doesn't get fleas!

It is important to remember that 95% of your flea problem is in your pet's environment, only 5% of the problem is on your pet, so just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there!

I've treated my pet, is that enough?

Well, firstly it depends on the product you are using. Generally most treatments do not treat the environment, so you will require an additional household spray.

In addition to this, you will need to make sure your carpets are thoroughly vacuumed and your pet's bedding is regularly washed at a minimum of 60 degrees.

But my pet is still itching and scratching!

In cases of an infestation, it can take months to get on top of the problem. If you are doubting the efficacy of the product talk to us and we will check your pet for any other skin conditions that could be causing the problem, and will advise you what will be best should changing products be required.

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