With the imminent arrival of spring in Sussex, many of us will be looking forward to spending more time outdoors – as will our cats and dogs.
But did you know that our gardens harbour an array of pet health hazards?
Warmer weather and lighter evenings equal more time spent enjoying our gardens. But while many of the plants that we commonly keep are beautiful to look at, they can also cause serious damage to our pets.
For example, bulbs of popular flowers such as daffodils can prove deadly if eaten. Other toxic plants, including tulips, snowdrops, lily of the valley and aconite, potentially cause serious internal problems, even death.
Sadly, there are no specific antidotes to these dangerous plant toxins, so if you notice any signs of poisoning e.g. excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea appearing ‘drunk’ or even collapsing – contact us immediately for emergency veterinary treatmen
Many of us will bring flowers indoors as bouquets, but remember lilies carry pollen so poisonous that it can cause irreversible kidney failure if ingested by curious cats.
As well as toxic plants, pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers all need to be kept in a safe place as these can lead to serious problems if swallowed. Preventing access to plants that have already been treated with such chemicals is essential. Please consider using safer non-toxic alternatives instead.
Spring means fleas, ticks, and other parasites which really make their presence felt, with populations increasing dramatically, this can result in widespread discomfort and possible transmission of other diseases.
Just like us, dogs and cats can develop allergies to plants, pollens, and grasses. Itchy skin, ear problems, runny eyes, behaviour changes, and occasionally hair loss can develop.
As with all conditions, the sooner pets are treated, the better their chances of recovery. But prevention is always key, so make sure your dogs and cats aren’t tempted by spring flowers, and your pet’s parasite control is all up to date.
If you’re worried your pet has eaten something he/she shouldn’t have, please give us a call as soon as possible.
Don’t forget, we offer a free delivery service on Wednesday afternoons between 2-5pm to all our clients within a 5 mile radius of our surgery, for all your medications and food. Pet Health Club members are able to have their flea and worm treatment delivered at no extra cost.
PREVENTING YOUR PET FROM BECOMING OVERWEIGHT
How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Still sticking to a strict diet? Working out at your gym?Perhaps you’ve completed a successful Dry January? Sadly it’s now a well-known fact that these days pet obesity is as much of a problem among our pets as it is with us. So, as well as looking after us it’s important we spot, and better still, prevent signs of obesity in our pets.
Actually, obesity is now the most common nutritional disorder affecting the UK’s dogs and cats, usually caused by simply more energy being taken in than is used, leading to potentially life-threatening problems. Rabbits are also at risk of obesity too, with potentially disastrous health-related consequences, so always pay special attention to their individual dietary and exercise needs.
Excess energy taken in by us and our pets is stored mainly as fat, with contributing factors such as age, sex,reproductive status, inactivity, genetics, food intake, highly palatable diet, treats, environment, lifestyle, and underlying diseases influencing weight gain. Many dogs would eat all day if they were allowed free access to food. As owners we have to find the will-power for them, and once they’ve been fed ignore any wide-eyed pleas for more food.
Signs of pet obesity are numerous; from struggling to feel your pet’s ribs, spine or waist line, to abdominal sagging or even a bigger, rounder face. Fat pets are often reluctant to exercise too, sometimes appearing tired or lazy, with breathing often laboured in the worst cases. Flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds like pugs (pictured) and French bulldogs can also suffer more when overweight.
As responsible pet owners it’s up to us to prevent obesity in our fury friends. Try to avoid feeding scraps or leftovers, carefully check feeding guides, weigh out recommended amounts of appropriate food, and ensure every family member has been given clear instructions regarding whose turn it is and how much to feed your pet.
It’s vital your lovely pet maintains a healthy bodyweight, as obesity can often lead directly to serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, depression, and arthritis (which directly affects mobility making it even harder to lose weight!) Furthermore, should your pet have to have an anaesthetic, he or she may be at much greater risk too.
If you think your pet is overweight, please book a free appointment with one of our nurses as there are several things we can do to help. For example it may be appropriate to change your pet’s feeding habits, increase their levels of exercise, look closely at type and levels of food intake, develop a sensible feeding plan, and include regular visits for free weight checks to record your pet’s progress. Regular weighing and a graph can also help keep your motivation going.
High-protein, high-fibre, but low-fat diets are typically recommended for weight loss, giving pets the feeling of being full and providing more energy. You’ll soon start to notice that when your pet loses weight, they’ll be happier and keener to exercise, thus losing even more weight. Agility and flyball are some of the best activities to take up with your dog too, being both physically and mentally stimulating.
Treats are a common source of extra calories and must always be fed with caution. Healthy treats are an important part of pet ownership, especially when using positive, reward-based training exercises, so always offer appropriate treats like simple carrot sticks, or even part of your pet’s total daily food ration as a treat to avoid any excess calories.