Summer’s coming

Most of us, and our pets, love the warm weather but it brings with it its own particular set of challenges and potential problems.

Heat Stroke is an extremely serious problem and can even be fatal. Although all dogs are at risk, the shorter faced breeds like Staffies, Pugs and Bulldogs are most vulnerable, and the danger greater if they are overweight. To prevent problems, avoid exercising your dogs in the midday heat and make sure they don’t over-exert themselves. If you become worried, move them to a cool, shaded place and give them lots to drink.

Sun rays! Most cats are real sun worshippers, which doesn’t tend to be a problem as their fur acts as a thermal regulator to slow down the process of heat absorption. Problems arise when cats have white ears or noses. These areas are vulnerable to sun burn because the hair is so thin which can trigger skin cancers. To protect your cat, apply high factor waterproof sun lotion to their ears and noses.

Grass seeds are a big summer problem! Grass seeds can easily become trapped in the coats of pets, especially dogs. They then migrate and become lodged in a variety of places including the ears and between the toes. It is always a good idea to groom your pets regularly, and especially after walks, to keep a close eye out for grass seeds.

BBQs! Lovely weather and longer evenings often mean lots of barbecues, and dogs often have a great time hoovering up the left-overs! This can cause stomach upsets or serious blockages requiring surgery to remove bones, kebab sticks and sweetcorn cobs. Please keep your pets away from the barbecue.

Allergies For sensitive dogs with allergies, the flowers and grasses that thrive in the summer months can cause real problems. Dogs can break out with nasty skin rashes – especially on their feet, stomach and ears and it can be very itchy for them. If this becomes the case, make sure they are up to date with their anti-parasite treatment since fleas can often be the cause.

You can bring them in to see us for a check-up as there are a lot of drugs available now that can help improve the situation.

Enjoy the summer months, have fun and keep your pets safe. Remember we are here to help, so if you have any concerns please give us a call or ask a member of staff.

Campaigning to End Puppy Farming by Marc Abraham

Firstly I’d just like to say thanks to all clients and their pets for welcoming me so warmly to Meridian Vets; I’m incredibly proud to be part of this great team, all committed to making sure your pet is the healthiest and happiest he or she can possibly be!

As some of you already know apart from helping look after the lovely pets of Peacehaven and beyond, I also spend time doing other work such as being a TV vet on ITV’s This Morning, as well as campaigning and lobbying for animal welfare in Westminster. This all started a few years ago in 2009 when I treated puppies dying of the fatal disease parvovirus, commonly associated with disgusting breeding conditions such as puppy farms.

For those of you unaware, puppy farms are usually large scale mostly legal (licensed) dog breeding establishments that prioritise profit over welfare, kept well out of the public’s view because they sell their puppies via a mostly legal (licensed) network of dealers and pet shop licence holders who then sell to the unsuspecting public via high street pet shops and other third party sellers – well away from their mum and place they were bred.

Puppy farms are often located in rural areas e.g. Wales, as well as Ireland and Eastern Europe, where pre-warned council inspections are few and far between and enforcement of any animal welfare-related legislation virtually non-existent. These puppy farms, which often house hundreds of breeding bitches in dark conditions, produce thousands of sick, dying, and diseased puppies – removed from their mums too early and sold on via these third parties.

Unsurprisingly, pups bred in these conditions have the worst start in life unvaccinated, unsocialised, inbred, and riddled with disease. They are then mixed up in batches before being sent around the UK and beyond to be bought by innocent puppy buyers. Their poor mums are battery farmed until they are no longer fertile and then they’re usually sadly destroyed.

Since treating those sick pups back in 2009 I set up a campaign called PupAid ( which began as an awareness-raising fun dog show in Brighton judged by well-known local personalities. More recently PupAid has also developed a political side which has meant travelling up to Parliament every week for the last four years to attend meetings, receptions, give presentations, advise politicians etc to change the law to make it illegal to sell a puppy away from its mum i.e. via a third party like a pet shop. This would mean puppies would have to be purchased direct from the breeder making the whole process transparent and therefore accountable, or better still adopted from rescue shelters exempt from being third party sellers e.g. the lovely Raystede, near Ringmer.

Campaigning in Westminster can be incredibly hard and stressful but PupAid has made great progress including in 2014 my e-petition to ban puppies sold without their mums collected over 110,000 signatures resulting in a three hour debate in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons, meeting ex-Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street to discuss puppy farming, as well as working with the EFRA Select Committee in 2016 to recommend the Government ban third party sales of puppies.

Sadly I’ve discovered not all parliamentarians or animal welfare organisations are working towards a ban on third party puppy sales with their own vested interests seemingly obstructing any legislative progress in this area but pressure is mounting on them to put welfare first so please watch this space, follow PupAid on Twitter or Facebook, or just ask me for an update when you see me next!

Regarding PupAid’s annual fun dog show, this has now moved to London’s celeb-filled, leafy paradise of Primrose Hill with judges including Ricky Gervais, Brian May, Sue Perkins, Rachel Riley, and many more; this year’s event will be on Sat 2nd Sept and is free to attend – I hope to see you there with your dog!