Local Dog Walking during lockdown

If there is one thing that many dogs look forward to each day, it is getting out of the house for a walk. Whereas this used to be plentiful, the arrival of COVID-19 and the resulting Government measures that followed, has caused changes to the routines of both pets and owners alike.

So, to make sure you (and your pet!) can get the most out of ‘walkies’ we have put together five handy tips:

  1. Using the lead

With the advice being to keep your dog on the lead when out walking, this might be not what your dog is used to. They might start pulling ahead on the lead or start trying to grab the lead with their mouths. Scattering treats on the ground as you are walking or holding a treat in your hand, may mean they focus their attention on them and not the lead or giving them their favourite toy to carry in their mouths might keep the lead free. Training your dog to walk on a loose lead will make the walk more enjoyable for both of you – especially if you are out with young children too.

 

  1. Keeping the walk fun

To keep the walk interesting for your dog, you could practice training exercises using a long lead and harness and their favourite treat or toy. Getting them to come back to you when called will allow you to keep on top of social distancing, but also gives your dog an element of freedom, while still on their lead, to explore when no-one is around.

 

  1. Maximise opportunities for a walk

With the Government measures currently allowing a person to leave the house for one piece of exercise a day, this provides your dog with at least one walk daily. However, if there are more adults in the house, or others willing to help, then each of them could separately take a walk – meaning plenty of fresh air for your dog!

 

  1. Finding the best routine

It sounds a bit strange, but at a time when ours have drastically changed, routine could be exactly what your dog needs! That means sticking to a similar time each day for their walk or keeping the preparation the same. On the other hand, if your dog isn’t too fussed by routine, different sights and smells each day might make it more interesting and help you find places to walk where less people are around.

 

  1. Going off the beaten track

With popular dog walking areas locally to you making social distancing more of a challenge, the temptation to find quieter walking routes might take you in to the countryside. There is nothing wrong with this but remember to follow the designated footpaths, closing any gates behind you and not straying into fields of crops. There is also plenty of young wildlife and livestock about that can be frightened by your dog, so it is important to obey any signs you see.  Be mindful that we are in tick season too, and those quieter wooded areas are the ideal habitats for ticks this time of year! Please contact us if you need to purchase the relevant treatment.

But what if you are walking a neighbour’s or relative’s dog as they can’t get out? The above tips can still apply but below are some other points to consider:

  • Linked to finding the best routine, agree the best time and how long the walk will last with the owner to avoid any confusion.
  • Work out how best to collect and return the dog that still allows you to obey social distancing guidelines.
  • Where possible use a different lead, ensuring that it is washed with soap and water after use.
  • Washing your hands before leaving home and again when returning is also best practice.

More information on the above can be found on both the RSPCA and Dogs Trust websites.

Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. This campaign, led by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), aims to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the veterinary nursing profession to the public.

Veterinary nurses are an integral part of the veterinary team at Vet4life, and are vital for the smooth running of any veterinary practice.  As well as providing expert nursing care for poorly animals, veterinary nurses also play a significant role in supporting pet owners in keeping their pets healthy.  They carry out essential clinical work and are skilled in undertaking a range of diagnostic tests, treatments and minor surgical procedures, with veterinary support.  Registered Veterinary Nurses have the technical knowledge and hands-on expertise to care for animals with skill and empathy.

The title of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) can be used by nurses who have undergone extensive training and education. Once they’ve passed their final nursing exams, nurses are entered onto the VN register and are regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They follow the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, which includes requirements to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to keep their skills up to date.

At Vet4life, we are extremely proud of our veterinary nurses. We have an amazing team who are dedicated to supporting our clients and their pets.  Even during this challenging time, some of our nurses are still working in-practice helping to support emergency and urgent cases.

To find out more about role of RVNs in veterinary practice, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, visit the BVNA website at www.bvna.org.uk/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing.

Ear cleaning Part 2

Lily, one of our Head Vets, will take you through the process of cleaning your pet’s ears.

Ear cleaning Part 1

Lily, one of our Head Vets, will take you through the process of cleaning your pet’s ears.

Celebrate our amazing team with us this World Veterinary Day!

The Vet4life veterinary team is here for your beloved pets, all year round, and despite the current circumstances remain committed to quality and excellence in everything we do – which is why we wanted to ‘paws’ this World Veterinary Day to say thank you.

By adapting our ways of working we’ve continued to provide the best level of care in these challenging circumstances while keeping the health and wellbeing of patients, clients and teams our number one priority.

There’s one thing we can all agree on – our veterinary teams play an important part in your pet’s lives. Since World Veterinary Day was founded, 20 years ago, by the World Veterinary Association, we have recognised this day as a moment to stop and acknowledge all the care and treatment they provide for our pets all year round. There are many different people involved in running Vet4life practices – so we want to thank all of our members of staff, who help deliver the services and care for our pets.

Each World Veterinary Day has an associated topic, and this year’s theme is ‘Environmental protection for improving animal and human health” which applauds the contribution veterinary professionals have in supporting sustainability and protecting the environment. It also allows veterinarians to share their knowledge and raise awareness of how harmful actions towards the environments can affect both animals and humans too.

Over the last month, your continued support and words of encouragement have been really rewarding – thank you for respecting our teams as they continue to do their best for both our patient and clients.

Want to celebrate World Veterinary Day with us?

There are so many ways that you can join in with the celebration, to show how much you appreciate your vet, and team – you may even be able to include your pet in the celebrations too!

  • Share your story of how our veterinary team has played an important part in your pet’s life.
  • Leave us a review on Google – we love receiving your heart-warming reviews.
  • Spend some precious time with your pet(s):
    o Take your dog for a walk
    o Enjoy some cuddles with your cat
    o Try some agility with your horse
    o Reward your pet with some healthy treats.

We’re sure you’ll join us, and celebrate our amazing veterinarians!

How to brush your pet’s teeth, part 2

Lily, one of our Head Vets, will take you through the process of brushing your pet’s teeth. It is an important routine to get into because, just like in humans, you can get build up of plaque on teeth which can lead to severe gum disease. Keeping those pearly whites for as long as possible is essential. All credits go to Talan, our four legged star!

How to brush your pet’s teeth, part 1

Lily, one of our Head Vets, will take you through the process of brushing your pet’s teeth. It is an important routine to get into because, just like in humans, you can get build up of plaque on teeth which can lead to severe gum disease. Keeping those pearly whites for as long as possible is essential. All credits go to Talan, our four legged star!

How to manage your pet’s weight

Our vet Joe talks to you about the importance of keeping your pet at a healthy weight. One of the ways you can check your pet is at a healthy weight is by feel, using something known as the Body Condition Score.

How to apply flea and worm treatment to your pet

Vanessa, our Clinical Director, will show you the best way to give your pet their flea and worming treatments. These are important medications to be given as directed by your vet because they will protect your pet against many internal and external parasites, some which can cause quite a lot of harm. All credits go to England, our four legged star!

Puppy Development during COVID-19

Are you wondering how to safely socialise your new puppy during the coronavirus lockdown?

We’ve put together a few tips for all new puppy parents.

As we all do our best to stay safe and comply with the government’s lockdown restrictions, puppies are likely to have their primary vaccination course later than usual. This delay means they’ll need to wait a bit longer before they can safely go out and explore the world. The good news is there are many ways you can help your puppy get used to new experiences without even leaving your house!

Normal puppy development

Puppies are the most receptive to new experiences between 3 and 18 weeks of age. During this time their brains effectively process any new sounds, smells and situations they encounter. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, are stored away for future reference. As puppies mature, they rely on these memories to help them ‘risk-assess’ new situations so they can react accordingly. Adult dogs, who lack a memory bank of positive experiences, are more likely to react inappropriately in a new situation by showing nervous or aggressive behaviour.

Separation and bonding

One positive aspect of lockdown is the extra time available to get to know and bond with your puppy. It’s extremely rewarding to watch their personality emerge. However, spending so much time with your puppy might make it harder for them to adjust to being alone when normal life resumes. If puppies are fearful of being alone, they could later develop separation anxiety. You could try the following to help your puppy adjust:

  • Spend increasingly longer periods of time in different rooms so your puppy learns to feel safe alone and knows you’ll always return
  • Encourage independence- as your puppy gains in confidence, allow them to explore areas of the home alone, such as an enclosed garden
  • Provide interactive, interesting toys for your puppy to play with while you’re apart

Noise

  • Gradually introduce your puppy to different noises around the house so they begin to accept, and not be scared of, a range of sounds. Make the experience positive for your puppy by rewarding them with a small treat each time you introduce a new noise. You could try dropping items, banging doors, singing and shouting.
  • Sitting with your puppy near an open window or door is a good way to introduce them to traffic noise.
  • If your puppy is happy to be carried, you could both enjoy short walks together (while observing social distancing measures!)


Dress-up

What better time to raid the dressing up box and try a new look? No one will see you and it will get your puppy used to the different things people wear, such as hats, sunglasses and veils. Allow your puppy to approach you in their own time and reward them when they do.

Handling and grooming

It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears and paws.

Play

Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could introduce your puppy to walking on a lead and practise in the garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.

Children

If your puppy lives with children, this is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in your pup’s socialisation and training. It’s helpful to teach children how to recognise when your puppy is tired. Tired puppies can become grumpy; they need a safe, quiet, space for uninterrupted rest.

Cars

Although it’s important to get puppies used to going out in the car at an early age, it isn’t possible to do this under the current circumstances and restrictions. If you have a travel crate in the boot now’s a good time to introduce them to it. You could sit the puppy in the crate in your car whilst stationary on your drive or outside your house, to get them used to being in the car. Alternatively, you could bring the crate indoors so that the puppy could get used to it by using it as their den. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car and give plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car.