Category Archives: Dogs

Responsible Puppy Purchase

If you are thinking about adding to your family in the form of a cuddly 4 legged pup, then read on….Black and white puppies on leads

The Animal Welfare Foundation have recently launched a new website  – the Puppy Contract – which includes a 10-step guide giving advice on whether a puppy is the right choice for you and your family, the costs involved and where to get a puppy.  This free downloadable tool helps equip you with the right questions to ask a breeder about socialisation, vaccination, microchipping and health tests.

There are separate sections which share tips on how to spot a puppy dealer and that give an overview of puppy breeding laws in all 4 countries of the UK.

The Puppy Contract is a free, downloadable tool kit and is supported by many professional bodies, including the British Veterinary Association, the Dogs Trust, and the Kennel Club.    To find out more follow this link –

Poisons – prevention is better than cure

We all know the risks to dogs and cats of eating grapes, chocolate and many more human foods.  Here are a few tips to avoid your dog or cat ingesting something they really shouldn’t:

  • Store medicines safely – NEVER give your medication to your pet.  Keep handbags and rucksacks well away from animals and keep medicine chests and boxes out of reach of inquisitive paws.
  • Anti-inflammatory creams can represent a risk if your pet licks your skin once you have applied the cream
  • NEVER feed grapes, raisins or onions to animals and ensure chocolate supplies including drinking chocolate and cocoa powder are well out of reach.
  • Dispose of leftovers or take-away food quickly and into a bin that cannot be accessed by your pet.  Likewise, ensure your recycling kitchen caddy is securely shut to prevent your pets accessing mouldy food which is potentially toxic.  This also applies to dustbins.
  • Lilies are extremely toxic to cats so it is advisable to keep them well away from your feline friends.
  • Store cleaning and DIY products securely out of reach of your pets and mop up any spillages quickly.  NEVER decant into different containers.
  • The new laundry capsules are highly concentrated and can cause problems when ingested or when spilt on to the fur.
  • Fit letter boxes with a cage or a guard so that any trial samples edible or otherwise that are delivered to your home are not swiftly eaten by your pets.  There have been tragic cases of chewing gums containing xylitol that have been delivered as mailshot samples but have caused fatalities in pets who have got to them before their owner.  For example – a 27kg labrador chewed a bag of pure xylitol that was delivered through the post – within 15 minutes he was vomiting and then developed severe convulsions.
  • Slug and snail pellets that contain Meteldehyde are highly toxic to animals.  Keep them well out of reach and never let your pet in the garden if you are using them.  Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors and twitches and can sometimes cause convulsions.  Prompt treatment is essential.
  • NEVER leave diluted gardening products in unattended watering cans or buckets and always dispose safely of any left-over solutions.
  • Antifreeze is highly toxic, a tiny amount can kill both cats and dogs, so keep it safely locked away from prying paws.

If you think your pet has ingested anything that could be poisonous, contact us immediately – we are always here for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


  Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager




Beware – the return of the slug

Dog with pink collar A leading supplier of slug control products has warned dog owners that their pets will be at risk of lungworm once the very hot weather conditions come to an end and rain will allow the slugs to re-emerge.  Slug evidence in gardens has been very reduced since early June as the hot weather has meant the slugs have gone underground in search of moisture.  However once the rain returns, these slugs will be out in force which is when dogs will be more at risk.  For more information on the dangers of lungworm, follow this link.






Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Emotional? Your dog will understand

Black and white puppies on leadsWe have reported in the past on a study that was taking place to identify whether dogs understand human emotions.  The authors of this study report that there is a tendency in dogs to turn their head towards the left when you express anger, fear or happy emotions, and to the right if you look surprised.    Additionally, dogs displayed higher heart rates and emotional activity when shown photos  of humans in a high emotional state.

These results demonstrate some indication that dogs are sensitive to human faces, which supports the theory that canine  brains can process basic human emotions.  Which, let’s be honest, we secretly knew all the time!




     Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Beware of the blue green algae

Under certain conditions such as the recent heatwave, blue-green algae can form blooms in water which colour the water blue-green (or brown, black or red).  These blooms are highly toxic and gastrointestinal effects can very often be the first sign following blue-green algae exposure.  These signs can very rapidly manifest and death can occur within minutes to hours.

Keep pets well away from any water bodies that look either blue-green, brown, red or black.  If you think your pet may have been close to these blooms you should seek veterinary advice immediately.  To read more about this toxic algae, you can click here.


  Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Alabama Rot – spot the signs

The Veterinary Times has recently reported an increase in cases of Alabama Rot (CRGV) in dogs.    Since 2012, this country has seen 168 confirmed cases across 38 counties, but during  2018 a record 45 have been confirmed to date.  This disease mainly occurs in the colder, wetter months so it is possible that further cases may yet be confirmed later in the year.

The signs of this mystery, canine disease include:

Skin sores not caused by any known injury – usually these are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a prominent swelling, a patch of skin that is red, or open and similar to an ulcer.  Within  2-7 days, symptoms of kidney failure will develop, such as vomiting, reduced hunger and tiredness.

If you think your dog may have these symptoms you should contact us immediately.  We are always here for you, 224 hours a day, 365 days a year.


   Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager


Swallowing hazards – it’s not just the usual suspects

As we all know, chocolate, grapes, raisins and onions are high on the list of what not to let your dog eat.  However there are others that are White staffie on shoulder of vet nursenot always in the frame but are just as toxic.  These include:


Animals can ingest hops either from plants in gardens, dried plant material in flower arrangements and even spent hops from the brewing process.  However the latter presents the greatest risk.  In dogs, symptoms include panting, restlessness and anxiety along with discomfort, due to a swollen stomach.


Like many of us, dogs seem to love whisky-based cream liqueurs.  The onset of symptoms normally occurs within 1-2 hours, these include diarrhoea, vomiting, excitability and agitation.  These are followed by depression, staggering, weakness, vocalisation and disorientation.  In severe cases, convulsions may occur.

Bread dough

If dogs eat bread dough it expands the dough in the warm environment of the stomach, due to yeast fermentation, causing distension and obstruction and the production of ethanol.   To prevent temptation, leave rising dough in a safe place, out of reach and out of sight of curious canines!

Macadamia Nuts

A toxic dose of these nuts is estimated at just 2 – 3 nuts for a labrador-sized dog!  Symptoms include weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea, lameness and stiffness.  Signs usually occur within 12 hours but can last for 24-48 hours.

Stored  Nuts

Stored nuts can become contaminated with moulds, which can produce toxins.  Dogs are particularly sensitive and even low level fungal toxins can be toxic to them.  Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, but more severe cases can lead to death within 3-7 days, due to liver failure.  Mould is very poisonous to dogs even at low dose accumulative exposure.  Symptoms are similar but milder and can therefore be assumed to be due to other causes.  The best way of avoiding this type of poisoning is to keep all foods, including food waste  bins, out of harms way.

Peanut butter

Many of the peanut butters that come from the United States contain Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.  It is worth contacting the Veterinary Poisons Information Service so they can help with the exact brands which contain this  ingredient.  Another product that is often included in the budget ranges of Peanut Butter is Palm Oil.  This can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhoea if fed in large quantities.  So always check the label before you feed your four-legged friend their tasty Peanut Butter treat.


This is very often found in chewing gums and the ‘sugar-free’ foods that are now widely available.  Dogs absorb xylitol quicker than humans.  Symptoms, which include vomiting and convulsions,  can appear within an hour.


Avocado leaves, bark and the fruit itself are all toxic to animals.  Symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting but the swallowing of an avocado stone can also cause stomach blockage.

If you think your dog may have eaten any of the items listed above,

please contact us immediately on 01553 771457. 

We are always here for you, 24 hours a day – 365 days a year.



Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Extracted from an article written by Jane Ellison BSc(Hons) that appeared in Practice Today – July/August 2018












Emotional Dogs

According to a recent research project, it is believed that it can be proven dogs can tell whether a human is happy.  Scientists trained 8 dogs – mainly border collies – to lie still in an MRI scanner while they were shown images of strangers that had happy or neutral expressions.  The online preprint server reported that the team found a happy face produces a distinct and identifiable signature in a dog’s temporal lobe and other neural regions.

You can read more about this fascinating project by clicking here




    Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Who’s the cleverest of them all….

It’s an age-old argument between cat and dog lovers whether cats or dogs are the more intelligent!  Things have now taken a new twist however, after scientists have for the first time, counted the number of cortical neurons in the brains of each species.  The number of these cortical neurons are associated with thinking, planning and complex behaviour, all of which are considered as hallmarks of intelligent behaviour.


Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, USA have now discovered that dogs have around 530 million cortical neurons while cats have only 250 million.  This turns on its head the long held theory amongst cat lovers that their favoured pet is the more intelligent.  It now seems that dogs have the capability of doing more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.  So next time you catch your canine friend staring into the distance – what is he or she really planning?!



Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

If your dog is neutered they could live longer

A very interesting study exploring the differences in sex in the longevity of dogs has found that those who have been neutered tend to live longer – with the greater gain in females.

Scientists both in the UK and the United States have examined records of nearly 81000 canine deaths that occurred in 24 vet teaching hospitals in the USA, as well as independent data from 5,095 deaths from UK practices.

The data revealed huge differences in lifespan between neutered and un-neutered dogs.  In females, neutering is associated with considerably longer lifespans.  In the United Kingdom females are more likely to be neutered than males.

The report concluded that overall in dogs, there is no evidence of longevity difference between males and females except when neutered.

For information on neutering your dog, please follow this link.  If you need any advice regarding neutering do give us a call – we are always here for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.



     Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager