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.

Top 10 hazards to watch out for this summertime to protect your pets

Summer brings longer days, warmer climates, new adventures and outdoor socialising, which with pets in tow, can be made even more enjoyable! However, when the temperatures rise, the dangers to our pets increase too. To keep pets safe, you should be aware of potential hazards, as well as some top tips to help prevent your pet from endangering themselves throughout the summer months.

1.Heatstroke and dehydration 

Our pet’s fur is great in the cold winter months, however, in the summer it can make them very uncomfortable, especially long-haired dogs, who require regular grooming. Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above its normal levels and therefore cannot accommodate any additional heat.

Some of the key symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Dry pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Excessive panting
  • Agitated behaviour
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting

To minimise the risk of dehydration and heatstroke, your pet should have access to clean, fresh drinking water. You should avoid exercising your dog during the hottest part of the day and try and get out early morning or late evening. If you are out with your dog for the day, you should carry a portable drinking bottle or bowl which is easily accessible and dispensed as required. Short-nosed dogs, dark-coloured pets and animals that are overweight are more susceptible to heatstroke and should be carefully monitored.

If you do think that your dog is dehydrated, or is demonstrating one or more of the symptoms listed above, cool them down with a hose, or place a cool, damp towel over them and call us as soon as possible for advice.

2.Ticks 

Our pets will be spending more time outside and will become more prone to ticks. Ticks are commonly found in woodland and grassland. Ticks are small parasites, which suck blood from other animals and have an egg-shaped body, which expands and becomes darker when they are filled with blood.

If you do discover a tick, and are confident to so do, you should remove it straight away. You should avoid squeezing the body or leaving the head in your pet. Removing a tick can be done using a tick removal tool, which can be purchased from your local practice.  If you are unsure how to remove a tick, please call us and we can assist. If the tick is not removed correctly, it can leave the tick’s head in your pet, which can cause a nasty reaction.

To prevent your pet from getting bitten, you can purchase preventative treatments from your local Practice which will repel ticks. Please call us to discuss and purchase the best treatment for your pet.

3.Bee or wasp stings

As humans, we fret around the buzzing noise when a bee comes close, however, an inquisitive pet may seek to investigate, and as a result, could get stung. Commonly, most stings will cause your pet some irritation and some pain. Dependent on where your pet has been stung, and if they have been stung before, there can be a lot of swelling and they may continually scratch the stung area, which can result in fur loss. Most commonly a cat may have a swollen paw and a dog may have a swollen mouth, which can result in breathing difficulties.

If your pet shows any of the following symptoms, they could have been stung:

  • Drooling
  • Whining
  • Swelling
  • Pawing at the face, or mouth
  • Biting at the site of the sting
  • Holding up their paw (if that is where they have been stung)
  • Hives

If they have been stung near their mouth or nose, you should contact us straight away, as this is a medical emergency.

4.Extra Fur

Keeping your pet well-groomed is particularly important in warmer weather. It will help if you brush your pet to remove any excess or matted fur and to reduce the thickness of their hair. Having thick, ungroomed hair could contribute to heatstroke, as highlighted above. However, it is also important to remember that your pet’s coat also protects them from getting sunburnt.

Some pets are more susceptible to getting burnt by the sun. Fair-haired animals, such as white dogs and cats, tend to have fair skin under their fur. Pets with fine, thin hair, and hairless breeds are also at risk of sunburn. However, regardless of how much fur they have, all pets are vulnerable on areas which do not have much fur if any, including their ears, nose and on their tummy. To protect your pet, you can buy pet friendly sunblock.

5.Barbeques and alfresco dining

There’s nothing more enjoyable than cooking up a feast and enjoying your favourite tipple outdoors, however for your pet there are many things to be mindful of including hazardous foods, toxic drinks, scalding surfaces and kebab skewers to name a few.

Some food and drinks which should be kept out of reach of your pet include:

  • Food with bones
  • Food with seeds
  • Grapes
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw onions
  • Raisins
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chocolate
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Coffee/coffee beans
  • Teas/tea bags

6.Swimming pools, sea, rivers, and lakes 

For many dogs, a pool, river, or lake may look inviting when the temperatures are high, however, it’s important to remember that not all dogs can swim, or even like the water. If you are introducing your dog to water, we would advise initially trying a shallow children’s paddling pool. If they enjoy that, you could introduce them to wider, deeper waters – however, we suggest using a dog-specific flotation device for their safety. If you are near water with a current or tide, please be wary. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, they could quickly find themselves in trouble, especially if they are swimming against a tide.

Keep a lookout for blue-green algae and associated warning signs, as this is often poisonous for dogs. Don’t let your dog swim or drink water which you suspect is containment. You should contact us straight away if your dog has come into contact.

If your dog does enjoy swimming, after they have played in the water you should ensure they are always thoroughly rinsed, to wash away salt, chlorine, and harmful bacteria.

7.Walking on hot pavements and artificial grass 

Hot pavements can burn your pet’s paws. Your pet’s paws are just as sensitive as the bottom of our feet, so if it is unbearable for you to touch, then it will be for your pet to walk on. We would advise trying the seven-second rule; if you can place the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds or more, then your pet should be able to withstand the temperature of the surface. If you cannot, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

To prevent your dog from burning its paws, you should follow the measures listed below:

  • Walking them in the cooler hours of the day – early morning or late evening
  • If you are out in the midday heat, try and walk them on the grass where possible
  • Clean and check your dog’s paws regularly

8.Fertiliser and pesticides 

Most fertilisers contain nitrogen and iron, which will poison your pet, and cause severe stomach problems which can cause irritation. Pesticides can cause your pet to have tremors and seizures.

If you are not sure if your pet has been exposed to such chemicals, but your pet is showing one of the following symptoms please call us and we can provide the appropriate treatment recommendations:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Dark, muddy coloured gums
  • Unusual posture due to abdominal pain.
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

9.Flowers and Plants 

Many plants and flowers are poisonous for our pets. If your pet consumes a poisonous plant, depending on how much and their level of toxicity, they may become quite unwell. Below is a shortlist of just some of the plants which can be hazardous to our pets which grow in the summer months:

  • Elder: The whole plant, including the elderberries, are poisonous for both cats and dogs.
  • Lilies: Containing a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, collapsing, fits and heart problems, and renal failure in cats. Lily flowers and leaves are also often used in flower bouquets and are very poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Foxglove: Both the seeds and the leaves of a foxglove plant contain a toxin which can cause your pet to have heart problems, sickness, and diarrhoea, fits and collapsing.
  • Geranium: The whole geranium plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Hydrangea: Parts of a hydrangea plant contain cyanide which is toxic to both dogs and cats.

10.Cars 

You should never leave your dog in a car, even if it is just for a few minutes. Heatstroke can happen quickly, and it can be fatal. In warm weather, the temperature in a car can increase rapidly, making it hotter inside the car than outside. If your dog becomes distressed in a hot car, passers-by are encouraged to dial 999, and the police will act to release the dog – even if that means damage to your vehicle.

Summer is an enjoyable time of year with our pets. Please be aware of just some of the many hazards which your pets could be exposed to and having a cautious and watchful eye will help keep your pet safe.

If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice, please contact us.

Adopt a pet – save a life

If recent months meant you put your new pet plans on hold, you may now be starting to put the wheels in motion to extend your family and welcome a new member. Many people research reputable breeders or consider designer dogs based on celebrity social media profiles, however, considering adopting a rescue animal can be hugely rewarding.

Animal rescue homes are currently overwhelmed with abandoned animals. The Covid-19 pandemic left many people unable to look after their pets due to financial constraints from being furloughed or made redundant, or the inability to give them the care and exercise they need due to medical shielding.

Add to this that many rescue centres, who rely on public charity to cover their running costs, have also seen a huge drop in financial support and it’s clear there is a greater need than ever to consider giving a rescue animal it’s ‘fur-ever’ home.

Adopt, don’t shop

There are thousands of animals around the UK who have been abandoned by their owners for one reason or another. They may have been badly treated or not well looked after and, as a result, not had the happy life that pets deserve. By giving one of these animals a second chance you’re contributing to giving them another, better life.

Things to consider

Rescue animals may come with a history, so you need to be prepared and able to deal with any issues which will be flagged to you by the animal shelter. Mistreatment may result in a nervous pet who will need lots of love, attention, and reassurance as well as the usual feeding, exercising and comfort elements.

Decide on what type of animal you can offer a good home to. If you have children at home and a rescue cat doesn’t get on well with children, for example, you’re not going to be able to change that. Adopting an animal isn’t just about saving them. It’s making sure they’re the right fit for you and your circumstances, and you’re right for them and theirs. If you’re looking for a dog, determine what is the right size breed based on the space you have at home. Don’t plan for a terrier and take home a Great Dane!

Most of all, make sure that – as far as is humanly possible – your new pet will be welcomed into your family permanently. Having already gone through losing an owner for whatever reason, it would be heart-breaking for your adopted animal to have to go back into the rehoming process for a second time.

What to expect

Animal charities will want to know a little bit about your home life, what space you have available and whether you have children or other pets. They may want to visit you at home to assess the suitability of the space.

Once the process is complete and you’re officially matched, be prepared for some readjustment time. Even though you’ve made your home welcoming, with comfy bedding, toys and good food, your new pet will need some time to get used to their new surroundings. They may be withdrawn, quiet or unresponsive in the early days. Try to reassure them without being overwhelming. Be patient with any toilet mishaps, speak to them with a gentle voice and don’t chastise them. They need to learn to trust you, so early impressions are essential.

Ready to start looking for a rescue pet?

There are a number of national charities who have available pets listed on their websites. Also, consider local animal rescue centres in your area.

  • RSPCA – https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeapet
  • Dog’s Trust – https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/
  • Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet

Advice on helping injured wildlife in the summer

As we transition from lockdown, more of us are exploring the outdoors with our pets in the summer weather. With increased time outside, the chances of coming across injured or sick wildlife also multiply. If you encounter a wild animal in need, it can be hard to know what to do. Wild animals can be very unpredictable if approached by humans, especially when they are frightened or injured.

Many baby birds and mammals are mistakenly taken from their families each year by well-meaning people. Check to see if a baby animal is orphaned before intervening – often their parent is hiding just out of sight, ready to return as soon as the human danger is gone. Unless there are clear signs of injury or sickness, it is best to call the RSPCA or your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre before acting.

Signs that your help is needed

There are a few common signs that you can look out for to help:

  • The animal is brought to you by your cat or dog.
  • There is evidence of bleeding.
  • The animal has an apparent or obvious broken limb.

Top tips to remember

If you find an injured, orphaned, or trapped animal, it’s important to approach carefully – and remember to place your own safety first. By using some of these tips, you can ensure a better outcome for wildlife:

  • Gently place an injured bird in a cardboard box and a mammal in a pet carrier, with a non-frayed towel on the bottom, and place somewhere quiet until they can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
  • Please try to put uninjured baby birds with no feathers that are found on the ground back into the nest. Mother birds will not reject babies that have been handled by people.
  • Keep birds away from your face as their beaks can cause injuries.
  • Always check long grass for rabbit nests before mowing. Keep an eye out for hedgehog nests; they can be found at the base of thick hedges, garden sheds or piles of rubbish.
  • If you are transporting an injured animal in your car, leave the radio off and keep talking to a minimum. Since wild animals aren’t accustomed to our voices, they can become very stressed by noise. Keeping their stress level to a minimum will help keep them alive.
  • Wear gloves if possible – gardening gloves work well if you have them. Proper protection is especially vital with injured bats as their bites can transmit rabies-like disease. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling an animal.
  • Never lift a wild animal, unless you are sure that you can do so without risk to yourself or others.

Feel free to contact us if you are uncertain on what to do, however, if you need to bring an animal for care, the RSPCA and local wildlife rehabilitation centres are better suited for injured wildlife than most vets. We can refer you to a local contact who specialise in treating wildlife. For more details on handling injured wildlife, please visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals

The importance of microchipping your pet

Keeping our pets safe is important to all of us as pet owners. They trust us with their care and protection and, as well as feeding, exercising and cuddling them, that includes identifying them so that we can be reunited if we are parted.

A microchip literally identifies your pet as belonging to you. It contains your details as an owner, which are stored on a central pet database. By scanning this microchip, a vet can get you and your pet back together as a family, whatever the circumstances may be.

You may be concerned that microchipping is an intrusive process, but the chip is tiny – the size of a grain of rice – and the procedure takes seconds; it doesn’t even require an anaesthetic. It’s usually inserted under the skin in the scruff of the neck, and once it’s there, you (or your pet) won’t even notice it.

Hopefully you’ll never need to use the microchip, because your pet will live a safe, happy and long life with you. But there may be circumstances where you’ll be glad it’s there.

Your pet is lost

It’s easily done – even the most careful of owners are at risk of their pet running away; whether it’s a dog that bolts out of the front door when you take a delivery, a rabbit that escapes its hutch, or a cat who gets stuck in a neighbour’s shed. When your pet is found, it will likely be taken to a local vet practice or a charity rescue home. One quick scan of the microchip and a phone call later, and your pet is back where they belong – with you!

Your pet is stolen

It’s an unfortunate reality that some pets – especially purebreds with high value – are stolen to order and resold. Without a microchip you wouldn’t be able to trace them. With a chip your animal can be identified and brought back home.

Your pet is in an accident

Outdoor pets, especially cats, are prone to injury; whether that’s fighting with another animal or being involved in an accident. Injured pets found by members of the public are usually taken to a local vet practice, who will treat the animal while also trying to track down the owner. As long as your pet is microchipped and the details are up to date, you’ll be able to get your pet back on the road to recovery. They’ll certainly be glad to see you while they’re licking their wounds!

Things to consider about microchipping

  • It’s a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in England, Wales and Scotland.
  • It’s illegal for breeders to sell puppies over 8 weeks old that are not microchipped and on a registered database.
  • There is no legal requirement to microchip other pets, but it is strongly advised by animal charities, and by us here at Vet4life.
  • Do remember to keep your details up to date if you move house or change telephone number, so that you can be contacted if necessary.

If you want to know more about getting your pet microchipped, get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.  There’s also some information available on the Government website which you may find useful https://www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped

Caring for your cat – An owner’s guide

Many of us are spending more time at home than we normally would, and you may be wondering if and how this may affect your feline friends. Below we have put together some useful hints and tips to help you create the perfect home environment, with some child-friendly activities included to keep both your children and cats occupied, all year round, but particularly during the summer months.

While many cats are adaptable to changing environments, it’s important to keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible. Take a look at some of our advice and top tips for supporting you and your cat.

1) A SAFE PLACE

While there may be a lot of movement in the house and a little busier than normal, it’s important that your cat has somewhere quiet and secluded to rest, sleep, escape and most importantly feel secure in. Our feline friends are most likely to be set in their own routine and ways. Us humans are spending more time at home, and subsequently, your cat is forced to adapt its routine and share their core territory, which some may find a little stressful.

TOP TIPS

We’ve put a list of places together, where your cat may like to escape to – so you can ensure you have a few places prepared and clear, ready for them to retreat to, including:

  • Top of the cupboard – make sure it’s safe and there’s ample amount of room for them to rest and reach safely
  • Underneath a bed – make a small space to ensure it’s safe
  • A raised shelf – clear a space on a bookshelf or on top of a chest of draws
  • Inside of a box – you may have an old box in the garage or loft which you can dig out

INVOLVE THE CHILDREN

If you have children in the house, why not make a hide-out activity for them to get involved in, including:

  • Turning a cardboard box into a hidey-hole by making a little entrance
  • If your child has a tepee tent and happy to give it another use, this can be nicely set up for a cat
  • Create a little nest by putting a long cloth over a breakfast stool
  • Place a comfy blanket under the bed

It’s also important to teach children to leave and not disturb the cat when it’s hiding or sleeping. However, if the cat seeks attention then give it, but don’t seek and disturb your cat, as if it’s not on a cat’s terms, they are likely to feel trapped, and as a result, may become stressed.

 

2) PLAYTIME AND PREDATORY BEHAVIOUR

While you’re at home, your cat may enjoy playing with you; not only will both you and your cat enjoy this time, you may also learn about your cat’s personality, and it may also help build a strong bond between you and them. Kittens and cats need to play and for times when you are busy, cats can entertain themselves, however it’s important that they have interactive games, or toys.

Playtime will develop their social and communication skills and improve their physical development and co-ordination, it also relieves boredom, and provides an outlet for your cat’s predatory instincts, which will prevent behaviour problems and also ensure your cat is getting exercise. Indoor exercise is particularly important for cats without outdoor access.

Below are some ideas to help keep your cat entertained:

Food Foraging

Problem-solving toys and puzzle feeders allow cats to use their senses to forage for food or play with to release food. If your cat is new to puzzles, you may need to make them relatively easy to begin with and over time make the puzzles harder.

INVOLVE THE CHILDREN

If you’ve got children at home, why not get them to make some puzzles, using toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes, egg boxes, yoghurt boxes and let their imaginations run wild.

TOP TIPS

  1. Do not use paint to add colour to your homemade puzzle
  2. Do not use small parts that can be hazardous to your cat

Interactive/object play

Interactive play and object play are short and intense predatory games and will also burn some of their energy off too.

INVOLVE THE CHILDREN

Make your own fishing rod for interactive play, or a furry feathery catnip toy. Be creative, give old or unused objects a new life.

TOP TIPS

  1. Play sessions should be carried out at set times (this will give them back the so beloved sense of routine), cats are normally more active early morning, or evening.
  2. Rotation! It’s important to provide only a small selection of toys per day to maintain novelty.
  3. Children should be supervised with fishing rod type toys.

Exploring

Cats are naturally curious, so why not look at your house through the eyes of a curious cat and make sure there are plenty of different things for them to explore.

INVOLVE THE CHILDREN

Take a plain box to the next level: Cardboard Box Castle!

TOP TIPS

  1. If you have more than one cat, make sure there is more than one entry and exit point
  2. Decorate your castle with pencils or felt tips but avoid using paint.

3) MULTIPLE AND SEPARATE KEY RESOURCES

Key resources are essential necessities that cats need to be happy and healthy in the home, including food, water, toileting areas, scratching areas, play areas and as mentioned above, safe resting and sleeping areas. If you have multiple cats, it’s important to ensure they have their own ‘key resources’ in separate areas of the house. Also, you should never be disturbed while making use of them – except for playtime of course.

TOP TIPS

  • Food

Food is an essential provision, however it’s important to consider that it’s provided in a cat-friendly way. There are a variety of different bowls available, including glass, ceramic, plastic and stainless steel. However, if your cat wears a collar, a constant clinking noise on the side of a stainless bowl could be very off-putting.

  • Water

Naturally, cats look for food and their water separately. Therefore, locating their water bowl away from their feed will promote hydration, and finding water can be extremely rewarding. It’s also important to have one water container per cat in the household – away from food, the bowl should also be big enough so that your cat can drink from its bowl without their whiskers touching the sides.  They also like their bowl full to the top so they can lap without putting their heads down.

  • Litter Trays

It’s essential to have a litter tray if your cat is housebound, but also highly recommended even if your cat is free to explore outside too. When considering the location of your cat’s litter tray(s) they should be situated in a discreet corner, away from their food and water, and away from busy thoroughfares, and away from areas in the house that a cat might find stressful – i.e. Near a busy door.

4) RESPECT THE CAT’S SENSE OF SMELL

A domestic cat’s sense of smell is about twenty times stronger than ours! Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell as they use scents to gather information, but also communicate.

TOP TIPS

To support your cat’s wellbeing around the house, you should avoid strong-smelling cleaning products, scented candles or room sprays. However, if you are able to provide scratching and facial rubbing areas and consider taking off your outdoor footwear when you enter your home it will elevate any new challenging smells in the house. It’s also important to provide places for appropriate scent marking, aka feline communication.

You could consider using pheromone products such as plug-ins as they may help to give your cat a sense of security and calm.

5) POSITIVE, CONSISTENT AND PREDICTABLE HUMAN-CAT SOCIAL INTERACTION

Consistent and positive handling of your cat from a young age promotes positive behaviours such as reduced fear and stress, but also initiates a strong human bond. As companion animals, cats benefit from friendly, regular and predictable social interaction with humans.

Ways to recognise if your cat is receptive include:

  • Purring
  • Facial rubbing
  • Chirruping
  • Head bunting
  • Vertical tail
  • Relaxed roll

And remember… cats like:

  • To be in control
  • A gentle touch and voice
  • Low intensity and high-frequency contact

TOP TIPS

If you’re working from home, below are some top tips of how to support your cat:

  • Find a workstation in a room where your cat spends little time
  • Or if your cat enjoys being with you, set up a cosy bed on the table/desk
  • Adopt your normal working hours, and if possible, ignore your cats’ demands and attention-seeking behaviour during those hours.
  • Do not use food to treat or bribe your cat to stop pestering you when you’re working (this may have the opposite effect)

The measures above are for all year round and will ensure you have a happy and healthy cat.

Information source: Vicky Halls RVN DipCouns Reg. MBACP (iCatCare/ISFM)

 

Diabetes Week – 8 to 14 June 2020

Know the facts, reduce the risk

Spotting the signs of diabetes in your pets is crucial as just like us, our pets can suffer from the complex disease, but it isn’t always easily identifiable. During Diabetes Week, we wanted to raise awareness and share some advice about how you can help your pet by understanding what diabetes is, the causes and how to recognise the symptoms.

The Facts

Diabetes is a complex disease with a range of signs that you can look out for.  Diabetes occurs when our pet is unable to produce enough insulin or their body doesn’t react to insulin effectively.

A lack of or reduced response to insulin means your pet won’t be able to regulate the sugar levels in their blood, leading to some severe side effects.

Spotting the signs

Diabetes can be managed to give your pet a much better quality of life.  Below are some of the signs you might want to look out for in your pet – to help you know when to consult the vet.

  • Drinking more often
  • Passing urine more frequently or in larger amounts
  • Increase or loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping more or being less active
  • Urinary tract infection.

Can diabetes be treated?

Diabetes cannot be cured but it can be effectively treated with careful management, following the advice of your vet.  Any treatment plan will be tailored to address your pet’s specific condition.

Treatment can include:

  • A balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Insulin injections (you will be guided on how to administer these by your vet).

Keeping your pet healthy is vital in managing diabetes, in particular ensuring they don’t become overweight. Advice for avoiding this includes walking dogs daily, varying their walking routes to keep exercise interesting, combining games with walks and trying to avoid feeding them table scraps, which can unbalance their diets.  If you are currently self-isolating or unable to leave the house, click here for some tips on how to exercise your pet during lockdown.

For cats, playtime is the best form of exercise, so they should be kept active with scratching posts and small toys.

If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice about diabetes, call us today for more information.

 

 

Vet4Life COVID-19 Update 1 June 2020

As of 1 June 2020, we can now offer additional services for our patients, while still adhering to COVID-19 social distancing rules. Any additional services we can offer will depend on a risk assessment which considers the safety of our clients and teams along with the welfare of your pet.

As a Practice, we have been preparing for how we will work in the ‘new normal’. We will be providing the same high-quality services, with the same friendly, caring people, just delivered in a slightly different way.

We are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and therefore lead times for appointments may be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time – we will do our best to make your appointment as smooth as possible.

Guidance for attending your appointment:

To keep everyone safe, you’ll notice some changes when you enter the practice – many of which you’ll be familiar with from supermarkets and other indoor places:

  • We ask that all clients wear face coverings. If you do not have a face covering, we will ask you to wait outside and ask you to call us. We will advise you on how we can safely take your pet into the practice. Updates during or after the appointment will be provided by phone or face-to-face outside.
  • The number of people allowed in the practice at one time will be limited and everyone will need to stay 2m apart.
  • We’ll be asking you to use hand sanitiser when you enter and leave the practice.
  • Our reception teams will be protected behind screens.
  • Our teams may be wearing masks and visors.
  • We can take payments via remote payment links.

We have made these changes as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.