Taking your cat to the vets

A visit to the vet can be stressful for cats, and therefore stressful for you too!

You will need a sturdy cat carrier to get your cat from your home to the vet practice. Make sure it has strong handles and fastens securely. A cat carrier will be an unfamiliar environment for your cat, so try to make it welcoming with some treats and toys, you could also use a pheromone spray to calm and help your cat feel at ease. Encourage them to get in and out of it of their own free will in the lead up to the appointment. That way it will be less daunting for them when you close the door for the journey.

Try not to show any anxiety or nerves as your cat will pick up on these. Check to see if your veterinary practice is registered as “Cat Friendly” which means it should have a dedicated cat waiting area and other measures to keep you and your cat at ease.

At present, the practice has additional measures in place due to Covid-19. Follow directions for the safety of you, your pet, and the practice staff. Be sure to wear a face-covering and use hand sanitiser. When using hand sanitiser, please ensure it has dried on your hands before touching your feline friend as they may not like the smell of it.

The vet will examine your cat thoroughly. Next steps will depend on the reason you’re here – either for a routine examination or for the investigation of a problem. It’s important to get your cat checked out at least annually even if they seem in good health. This will enable us to pick up on subtle changes which might not be noticeable at home such as weight loss and allowing us to intervene early in any disease process

If you have any questions, feel free to ask the vet or the nurse. They’re here to help, and make sure you fully understand what’s going on. Whether it’s about terminology, medication, or even costs, they want to make sure you’re fully informed throughout the appointment.

If your cat is showing signs of stress after their appointment, be sure to give them plenty of fuss and cuddles when you get home – if they want to, of course! We all know that cats can be strong-minded and very independent, so don’t force them if they don’t want to.

Seven interesting dog facts for you to ponder

We’ve “fetched” seven fun canine facts to share with you. You may know some of these already, and others may be new info for your trivia bank…

  1. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not colour-blind. [Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]

Dogs are not colour-blind in the sense that they see more than just black, white and grey. However, the range they perceive is different from ours. Human eyes have three types of cones so we can see red, blue and green. Dogs are only able to discern yellows and blues. This is called dichromatic vision. Reds and greens are not distinguishable to dogs and instead appear somewhere on their yellow to blue spectrum.

  1. Human yawns are contagious for domestic dogs! It is four times as likely to happen when it is the yawn of a person he or she knows. [Source: Scientific American]

Dogs are amongst few species that have displayed signs of contagious yawning. The exclusive list contains humans, chimpanzees, stumptail macaques and gelada baboons.

  1. A Greyhound could beat a Cheetah in a long-distance race. [Source: Psychology Today]

Greyhounds are superb long-distance runners and can keep a speed of 35 mph for up to seven miles. Cheetahs, while incredibly fast, can only keep their speed for around 200 to 300 yards (274 meters) or less than two-tenths of a mile.

  1. A wet nose helps with scent detection. Your dog’s nose secretes a thin layer of mucous that helps to absorb scent chemicals. [Source: Vetstreet]

Dogs rely on scent to explore, and a wet nose helps to optimise the effectiveness of the dog’s olfactory system. A damp surface helps to attract and hold scent particles, making it easier to pick up odours while sniffing. There are up to 300 million sensory receptors in a dog’s nasal cavity; humans only have 6 million.

  1. Petting a dog can lower your blood pressure. [Source: WebMD]

While we all know that petting a dog feels good, but did you know that it can also lower your blood pressure? The petting action helps your body release a relaxation hormone and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone.

  1. Dogs have about 1700 taste buds! [Source: Woof Report]

As in the case of humans, your dog’s sense of taste depends upon special receptors called “taste buds.” Dogs have around 1700 taste buds while cats average only about 470.

  1. Dogs have at least 18 muscles in each ear! [Source: The Bark]

Up to 18 muscles control the ears of dogs while humans have only six and can only move their ears slightly. Dogs can tilt and rotate their ears to funnel the sound into the inner ear more efficiently.

 

Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

If you’re planning on taking your pet to an EU Country after 1 January 2021, there’s some important information you need to know.

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel for the first time after this date, you’ll need to start taking the following steps four months before you’re planning to travel …

1. Arrange for your dog, cat or ferret to be microchipped.
2. Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated.
3. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
4. Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
5. You will then need to wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
6. The vet will give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to travel with your pet until you have a valid animal health certificate.

If the blood test result is unsuccessful, your pet will need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken after a further wait of 30 days.

As long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccination up to date, you will not need to repeat blood tests for further trips to the EU. However, you will need to get an AHC from your vet within 10 days each time you travel.

It is possible that as things progress, not all of this will be necessary but please ensure you give yourself enough time.

For more information or to make an appointment to start the process, call us.

More information can be found here on the GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad

Barbecues and your pets – things to consider  

Picture the scene…you’re in your garden, the sun is shining, maybe you have friends and family round to visit, and the charcoals are just about ready for you to start cooking al fresco. The last thing you want is an emergency vet visit with your beloved pet.

If you’re planning a barbecue this weekend, here are some of things to consider to keep your pet safe.

Burns

Your pet could get burnt by brushing past the barbecue, by a falling hot coal or by eating food directly from the cooking surface. Make sure they can’t access the cooking area.

Choking or obstructions

Discarded bones, skewers and corn on the cob can all be of danger to pets if swallowed. Other items such as tin foil may contain tempting cooking juices which can cause issues if ingested. Ensure rubbish is properly disposed of in a container that pet noses can’t find.

Upset tummy

Animal tummies aren’t designed to digest human food therefore burgers and hot dogs can cause your pet to develop vomiting or diarrhoea. Too much human food also piles on those pounds.

Alcohol ingestion

If alcoholic beverages are left around, your pet may be tempted to investigate. Alcohol is toxic to cats and dogs; causing vomiting, disorientation, high body temperature, restlessness, excessive panting, muscle tremors and seizures. Keeping drinks out of reach is advised.

Overheating

If you’re having a great time it can be easy to get distracted. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water and shade while you’re enjoying yourself. If you choose to keep them indoors away from the hustle and bustle of the party, open a window a small amount to allow a breeze into the space, or put on a cooling fan.

If you do have any barbecue mishaps, we’re here to help. Get in touch for advice.

Animal activities to keep your children occupied during the summer holidays

It can be a challenge keeping the kids occupied during the summer holidays, especially if you are opting for a staycation this year, so here are five ideas that may help you out!

Draw a picture

Get the crayons and paper out and encourage your little one to become a budding artist by drawing a picture of your pet or their favourite animal.

Take some photographs

Most mobile phones these days have a pretty good camera, so why not set a photo challenge? Perhaps it’s capturing photographs of butterflies, insects and birds in your garden, or trying to capture the perfect portrait of your pet. Promise to print the best results off for them to put into an album or frame – it will incentivise the children to really make the effort to capture that perfect shot.

Visit a farm

If you’re in the countryside you may see farm animals in fields locally, but city dwellers can often visit urban farms for their fix of the farmyard. Find out more about farming – what the farmer does, what the animals eat and how they’re cared for.

Write a story

Let their imagination run wild – ask them to write a story about your pet and the adventures they have when everyone is asleep. The more exciting, the better!

Make animal facemasks

Use some card as a base, draw an outline, then cut bits out and stick bits on. Paint tiger stripes or a cute pink doggy nose. Use some elastic or ribbon attached at the sides to fit small heads.

Going to the beach with your dog this summer?

With restrictions on holidays abroad and ongoing updates to the quarantine list, many people are opting for a ‘staycation’ in the UK this year. If your summer plans involve a trip to one of our beautiful beaches and your dog is lucky enough to be joining you, here are some things to be mindful of:

Heatstroke

Remember that dogs are prone to feeling the effects of the sun too, with dehydration being a danger to them. When you’re at the coast the sea breeze may make it feel cooler than it is, so do be aware of any changes in your dog’s behaviour and try to create some shade for them to rest in. Make sure you have a supply of fresh water for them to drink and avoid taking them out in the heat of the day – remember that dry sun-baked sand can get very hot and burn your dog’s feet.

For more information about protecting your pet from the sun click here

Sand

When ingested, sand can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, which may need surgery to remove. If your dog has never been to the beach before they may be curious about this new material and try to eat it. They may also inadvertently ingest sand when fetching a wet sand-coated ball. Keep your dog in view and be mindful of what’s in their mouths.

Swimming in the sea

We love to see a happy dog bounding through the waves but be sure to check the depth of the water and make sure there are no sudden drops that could cause your dog to get into difficulties. Small dogs are especially at risk due to their shorter legs, and a strong current could be more dangerous for them due to their lighter bodyweight.

Seawater

Drinking salty seawater will also add to the risk of dehydration and can cause diarrhoea. Too much seawater can cause toxic sodium levels which can be fatal. Once again be mindful of what your dog is doing at all times and be sure to have plenty of fresh water available.

Remember, if you’re travelling by car, ensure your dog is safely harnessed for the journey.

And finally, have fun!

Taking your dog out in public

The daily walk forms an important part of our dog’s routine; a chance for them to stretch their legs (and ours!). As it’s something we do every day, we may not always be aware of some of the rules and restrictions in place when we wander through the park or woodland.

It’s always best to research your local authority’s website to understand the laws in place for your area, but below are a few general points to keep in mind when out in public with your dog:

1. Cleaning up after your dog

It might seem like it goes without saying, but at some point, we’ve all been unfortunate enough to tread in another dog’s mess. As well as the unpleasantness it brings, it can also pose a health issue, with the parasites contained in dog faeces being harmful to both humans and livestock if ingested. Although certain public areas might not legally require you to clean up after your dog fouls (such as woodland or heathland), it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of doing so every time. This way, you do your bit to protect the environment while also avoiding any unwanted fixed penalty fines.

2. Being mindful of livestock

When out walking your dog through woodland and countryside, there’s a good chance that you will come across a range of livestock, such as sheep and cattle, out in fields. It’s important to ensure that your dog is kept on a short lead if you can see, or suspect, that livestock may be close by – even if they have never tended to chase before. As well as the obvious harm your dog biting livestock could cause, even chasing and barking can cause them distress, making them react irrationally and potentially putting yourself and your dog in danger. Did you know, it’s also an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep as they can become very poorly if stressed?

3. Walking with your dog on a lead

There are other local areas, in addition to the above, where you may have to ensure that your dog is kept on a lead. These include certain park areas as well as sports pitches and children’s playgrounds, and there is usually signage on display that provides information on any orders or restrictions. It’s always a good idea to check your local authority website if in any doubt though, as there are strong criminal punishments if your dog was to injure another person or make them fear injury.

4. Maintaining a safe distance

Not something you would have had to consciously consider before, but with recent events and current guidelines, maintaining social distancing has become a requirement within the daily dog walk routine. With the better weather over the summer months and no restrictions on our movements, local parks can be busy with families and fellow dog-walkers, which may mean having to be mindful of the route you take and how close your dog is to others.

You can find more advice about UK dog laws, including when out in a public place at https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/public-spaces-protection-orders

Customer Care Assistant / Receptionist Vacancy

All Vet4life sites: Teddington, Surbiton & Shepperton

  1. Fixed/Permanent: Permanent
  2. Full/Part Time: Full Time
  3. Vacancy Published On: 13.07.20
  4. Closing Date: 03.08.20
  5. Salary: £18,137.60 – £19,000 per year

Are pets, people and positivity your thing? If so, we would love for you to join our team.

We are looking for an enthusiastic Customer Care Adviser to join our amazing team on a full time basis. Being a team player with a good sense of humour is essential.

You will be joining our fantastic team of 10 Vets, 6 RVNs, 5 SVNs and a customer care team of 6, across our 3 clinics in SW London and Surrey.

  • Hours: 40 per week
  • Weekends: 1:3 Saturdays, 1:6 Sundays, with days off in lieu
  • Perks: Pension, Staff discount and Birthday perk (additional paid day off on/around your birthday)

The role

The successful candidate will be responsible for providing outstanding customer service to potential and existing clients whilst demonstrating genuine care to our client’s pets.

They will be responsible for presenting a professional and friendly first impression to clients, suppliers and visitors attending all the Vet4life clinics in the group.

The person

This role requires an individual to excel in customer service with the ability to seize opportunities to provide solutions and present the practice in a professional and efficient manner.  Other attributes required are:

Essential requirements

  • Minimum of 1 years Customer Service Experience
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Good Interpersonal skills and empathy
  • Clear Communication
  • Ability to handle stressful situations
  • Active listening
  • Team-working
  • Problem-solving
  • Commitment to aims & values of organization
  • Animal lover
  • Desire to help
  • Proficient in using computer database  and IT.

Holiday (days)

33 days including bank holiday

Other

Birthday Day off Perk and Pension

Previous Veterinary Reception or other Customer Care experience would be beneficial for this position.

Apply online at www.vet4life.co.uk/join-the-team/

Further information

For more information, please email jointheteam@vet4life.co.uk or alternatively call 020 8390 5270 and speak to Emily Barrs.

Camping with your dog

Have your holiday plans this summer taken on a different look and feel? Are you swapping sunbeds and sand for…well, a field? Camping and caravanning is the holiday trend for summer 2020. Many campsites are fully prepared to safely cater for families over the coming months and the great news is, many are happy to welcome our dogs too!

If this is the first time you’ve camped with your dog, this checklist might be a useful reminder about what to pack.

Food

Keep things simple and take your dog’s usual food with you. Avoid feeding your dog barbecue or picnic scraps as they could cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhoea.

Bedding

Both tents and caravans can get chilly at night so it’s a good idea to pack extra layers for your dog. An insulated camping mat covered with a couple of blankets makes an ideal dog bed. The ground can feel hard and uncomfortable, especially if your dog has arthritis, so the more padding the better. Cushions from deckchairs could double up as your dog’s bed.

Shade

The temperature inside a tent can change rapidly; it can be freezing during the night and stiflingly hot during the day. Make a dog shade by attaching an awning or a porch to the outside of your tent or caravan. Some dogs love to lie on a cooling mat; these provide an easily transportable cool surface for your dog.

Water

Just as you would at home, take plenty of water and a small bowl with you when you head out for the day with your dog.

Stake-out

Campsites usually ask you to keep your dog on a lead and be considerate of other campers. Metal stakes are widely available specifically for this purpose. They anchor into the ground and provide a secure place to tether your dog safely away from cars, bikes and children.

Dog identification tags can tarnish over time; check your dog’s tag is easy to read and your phone number is up to date.

Vaccinations and parasite control

Give us a call if your dog’s vaccinations aren’t up to date; we can advise you whether it’s OK to wait or get you booked in before you go. Make sure your dog has been wormed recently too as there are often many dogs sharing the same toileting facilities (usually a designated field).

Medication

If your dog has long term medication, make sure you have enough for your trip. Let us know if you need to order more and we’ll check you have everything you need.

Vets

If you’re travelling out of the area, it’s useful to find the phone number of a local vet. Hopefully, you won’t need them but if your dog does become unwell, it’s one less thing to worry about. If you do need to see a vet while you’re away, we can email them with any clinical information they need to help them treat your dog.

Insurance

Take the details of your dog’s policy with you; this will save time and give you peace of mind if you do need a vet while you’re away.

Camping with your dog might be the start of a whole new way of holidaying for your family?! It could also convince you to start booking next year’s beach holiday ASAP- either way it’s likely to be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!

If you need any advice about holidaying with your dog, please give us a call.

Grass seed dangers to cats and dogs

Grass seeds are a common problem during the spring and summer months. While your pet explores the outdoors, grass seed can easily brush off the tops of long grass stems onto their bodies. The seeds have pointed ends and are exceptionally sharp, so they become trapped in your pet’s fur and due to their shape they can only travel in one direction. This means they can often penetrate skin or move into ears

If left untreated, grass seeds can cause a variety of problems. These problems range across the spectrum from minor irritation to conditions that require surgery. Grass seeds carry bacteria which can cause an infection if the skin of your pet is affected.

An untreated infection may spread, or the seed can cause severe internal damage as it travels through the body. Unfortunately, if the seed breaches the skin, surgery is often required to find the grass seed, along with the use of antibiotics and antifungals for treatment.

Symptoms

Your pet could experience different symptoms depending on what part of the body is affected. Look out for swelling, hair matting and irritation. Additional signs can include scratching, head shaking or discharge from the eyes or nose. The table below provides more detail on the main symptoms and potential damage caused by grass seeds. The damage really depends on how far they travel and how long they are left.

grass-table

Prevention is the best cure

Try to keep your pet away from long grassy areas since the seeds can catch onto their coat, skin or toes very easily. If you take your pet outdoors for a walk, check their fur for any grass seeds when you get home. The typical areas to check are eyes, ears, nose, armpits and their toes – which is where the seeds often get lodged. Keep long-haired dogs trimmed or clipped and well-groomed, especially around their feet and ears.

If you are concerned that your pet may have picked up a grass seed please get in touch. The earlier grass seeds are caught, the less damage they can do.