Pat the Vet
Harry the Pet
Christmas for you and your Cavalier/s
Visitors- family and other guests.
Some of your festive visitors will love pets and may bring their own with them, others who will tolerate your pets, and some who will really dislike or are allergic (they say) to pets and try to avoid any contact with them.
Pets often sense this -and seem to gravitate often to non-pet-lovers !
If it is to be a brief visit – keep your own pets away from guests who obviously dislike – or are allergic to animals.
Pop your dogs in a room of their own if you can with their own beds, toys and food etc. BUT try to keep to their normal routines if you can.
Make sure they are taken out for toileting and walks if possible as usual..
Don’t forget about them ! (Guests yes – pets no!)
If the NO- pets- guests are staying overnight or for a few nights you will just need to try to adjust their routine a bit (the dogs, not the guests).
Don’t let the dogs trip up elderly Grandmas, or get too obstreperous with boisterous small children or weird teenagers !
However – you really must do as I do –(whether the guests like it or not) you need to stress that the dogs are YOUR family or part of it and that they live WITH you. It might be necessary to shift them from dining rooms etc when people are ‘feasting’ but try to keep them to their own routine if you can.
You may have the odd guests who says they love pets but are patently numpties ! and think it is kind to give your dogs, chocolates, or alcohol or allow your dog to do things you don’t allow it to do.
Make sure your guests know the rules and do NOT feed inappropriate food or drink or you may spend a lot of time at the vets during the next few days.
Also, make sure they are safe from the armchair-experts – the people who have watched a couple of episodes of ‘It’s Me or the Dog’ or ‘The dog whisperer’ and now think that they are animal behaviour experts. They maybe try to train/discipline you dog and it never works – and can only end in arguments.
Visiting dogs can be great fun, but it’s not a good idea to introduce a complete stranger into your pet’s territory when they are already coping with all the other upheavals of the festive period. If you already know that both sets of pets get on well, go ahead, but make sure that there are enough beds, bowls and toys to go around, and that everyone is still getting the level of attention they are used to.
Christmas Trees and decorations.
Christmas trees are an essential part of the Christmas experience; however they are quite confusing for many pets. Bringing a large piece of garden foliage into the house can trigger a momentary loss of house training in even the most well-mannered pet, especially if it has already been anointed before you bring it home.
Sprays etc do not usually deter eager male dogs from sniffing and then…………….!
Please be careful with trailing electric wires for lights, and baubles on the tree (plastic ones are safest)– which can break if glass and then hurt/cut into dogs feet.
Tinsel can be very attractive for pups to play with – our first two pups consumed whole lengths of tinsel but then thoughtfully re-produced it safely – bvut it can get stuck and be dangerous. NO chocolates on the tree please.
If possible hoover up fallen tree needles most days – if you can – they can irritate little feet very badly.. With small or boisterous pups/dopgs, it might be necessary to put up sonme sort of guard round the tree so they can’t get near it – an old-fashioned fire-guard can be very useful.
Mistletoe is poisonous as are many Christmas plants – so keep them out of your dogs reach.
It is not a good idea to pile Christmas gifts at the foot of the tree or in any accessible place to your dogs if they contain food of any sort, or anyo ther strong smelling items,.
I know some of you encourage your dogs to open their own gifts – but beware – if they know it is OK to do this – they may open everyone else’s gifts too ! Many dogs – like small children – prefer chewing up all the wrapping paper rather than the gifts inside.
Festive Food & Drink
Many festive foods pose a risk to your pets, but that doesn’t mean they have to be completely excluded from the traditional feasting. Mince Pies, Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding contain raisins, which are very toxic to pets, and also large quantities of sugar, but you could always make a pet version using leftover pastry and tinned pet meat or minced meat.
While it’s not a great idea to give your pet a full roast meal with all the trimmings, most will cope with a bit of roast turkey and some green beans or carrots. Vegetarian pets always enjoy most vegetable peelings and the odd raw sprout or two. BUT please – no turkey skin – this can lead to a dangerous pancreatitis, and please NO poultry n0 bones of any sort.
No poultry carcases put anywhere a dog can get them – really
Alcohol is also toxic to pets in any amounts, so make sure visitors don’t leave their glasses unattended. Beware of the previously mentioned visiting numpty, who may think it’s fun to get your dog or cat drunk – they’re not the ones who will be paying the vet bill!
Parties and family gatherings.
Christmas Parties are great fun for people but can be stressful for pets. and elderly forum mods too ! Lots of strangers in the house, loud music, strange smells and foods, people getting drunk and acting inappropriately – it can all get too much for them. Make sure your pet has somewhere safe to go if they need to escape the stimulation. If possible settle them down in their usual crate/bed – in a quiet place.
Be especially aware of visiting small children – they may not know how to read a pet’s body language when they are saying they have had enough attention. If your pet is not used to interacting with children, they may not be used to the amount of noise and frantic activity seen among children at a party, and might find this distressing. Again, make sure your pet has a safe place to get away and NEVER leave your pet unsupervised with any child, even your own.
Remember that your pet will pick up on your stress levels – if you are feeling fraught and overwhelmed by the responsibility of hosting a party, get your pet out of the situation and into their safe place. There’s no harm in taking a quick 5 minute time out to settle your pet down, and it will make you feel better as well.
Enjoy Christmas – we had many Christmases with a large family gathering – and several dogs and cats at home – but I have to say I prefer – and always have preferred a quieter time these days -.
Try to keep to the above rules and I hope you all have a super Christmas.
(Keep a note of your vets emergency numbers handy – and
possibly also a good idea to keep some Prokolin handy too in case of dogs’
Autumn Care of Dogs
Ticks and How to Deal with Them
For those of you not familiar with ticks - they are parasites which normally live on sheep, deer, birds or hedgehogs - but which can be found in gardens too - often via hedgehogs.
Found on moorland, golf courses and many gardens.
There are 2 main seasons for ticks - Spring and Autumn.
(Known as the Spring or Autumn tick -'flush' - as opposed to a 'hot' flush!
When attached to a dog - usually dog's head, neck or tummy - they start off quite small like little grey dots -
but as they suck blood they enlarge rapidly. See photo. People often mistake them for warts or growths of some kind.
Never try to pull them straight out - you will leave the head in the dog's skin and that can cause a nasty reaction and sometimes an abscess.
You can now buy tick hooks at Pets at home I think, or your vet can get you one.These are little green plastic hooks that you slide around the tick between the tick's body and skin of the dog, and rotate.
If removing a tick always rotate a hook or tweezers and that will 'unscrew' the tick without leaving the head in.
Dab area with little antiseptic ointment or lotion afterwards.
Frontline to some extent kills ticks - they still attach themselves to dogs but then die quite quickly.
- An engorged fat tick is about the size of a small pea ! When it is attached to the animal you cannot see its head or legs usually - so just looks small and round and grey.
In a few parts of the UK they can carry Lyme disease - but this is not common and your own vet will know if it occurs in your area.
Frontline is the only spot on that will actually work for Ticks – and it does not kill immediately – but they do die and then fall off. Get into the habit of checking your dogs for ticks- easiest seen on Blenheims.
(Please do NOT resort to the’’ lighted cig. trick was a favourite of shepherds too - many years ago- I've seen more than one 'singed' border collie.)
Before the advent of tick hooks etc - I used to show clients how to soak the tick in vegetable oil ('Crisp and Fry' or similar) for a few minutes. This blocked up the spiracles (tick breathing tubes) so the tick had to let go -easy to get the complete tick head and all - out cleanly.
In the USA ticks carry several more diseases – but as far as I know Lyme disease is the only one in this country and is fairly rare in dogs.
Pat Morris M.R.C.V.S.
Prevent fleas! Asume your dog will meet fleas in the summer and take action to prevent them. Ask you vet for modern and safe non- organophosphate flea treatment and use it regularly starting in March or even all year. The new spot on are the best. Tablets are also available which don't kill the fleas but render them infertile.
As the flea eggs hatch out in the house, it is essential to treat any area in which the dog has been with an insecticide made for the purpose to prevent eggs and larvae developing into adult fleas.
DOGS ON BEACHES AND IN THE COUNTRY.
DO clear up after your pet. Try to watch for possible dangers to your dog - broken glass, tin cans, ring-pulls, rotting bits of food - left by humans - but which unfortunately many dogs find tasty -but which can cause serious tummy upsets.
Beware old barbecue sites – they are prime places of left-overs – bits of bone, the centres of corn on the cob etc – all of which can cause fatalities in dogs.- and do.
If your dog comes into contact with a jellyfish - dead or alive - it may have an acute allergic reaction requiring immediate veterinary help.
Please keep your dog under reasonable control on public beaches. Make sure dogs ARE allowed on that stretch of beach.
If your dog is not used to swimming - do NOT encourage it to go into the sea. Please do NOT throw sticks for your dog - these can cause horrendous injuries. Throw a ball or a frisbee - but NOT sticks or stones. In hot weather always make sure your dog has access to clean cold water - and try not to let it drink from the sea, ponds, ditches or rivers. Unfortunately many of these are polluted or may have toxic blue/green algal bloom – not always visible to us - although they may LOOK clean.
NEVER let your dog off the lead near cliffs and NEVER let your dog off his lead near farm stock.
This seems to be a list of DON'TS - but if you DO take care and try to avoid possible doggy hazards and heat-stroke - then you and your dog should be able to enjoy the warmer summer weather happily.
The little, spiky seeds of the wild barley are a real nuisance to the dogs, especially, it seems to Spaniels with their long, floppy ears , hairy feet and long coat. The seeds easily attach to the hair on a walk and because they are shaped like darts, slowly work their way down to the skin or into an ear
If grass seed finds its way into an ear it causes
sudden distress and violent head shaking
A grass seed in the eye is painful.The eye discharges and the dog holds it tightly shut. It may be very difficult to see the seed and even if you can see it, take the dog to the vet in case you or the seed damages the eye. Your vet will use a ocalor general anaestheticto find and remove it.
Feet usually affected as the seed embeds in the area between two toes. An absecess developes and the dog licks it constantl. The grass seed must be removed by your vet or it can remain for months, moving under the skin up the leg causing a constant irritation and discharge, until it emerges as far away as the shoulder in some cases