What should I do if my pet picks up a tick?
A number of sprays, spot-on treatments and collars are licensed to kill and / or repel ticks. Unfortunately even a dead tick can stay attached and the best option may be to remove it. This needs to be done with great care, since simply pulling the tick may result in part of it being left in your pet. Tick removing tools are available to ensure you remove the whole tick, however if you are unsure of how to safely detach the tick you must consult your vet.
How can I tell if my dog has worms?
Unfortunately, in many cases it can be difficult to determine if your dog has worms by simply looking at him or indeed his faeces. Some dogs with a heavy worm burden may look thin and have diarrhoea, however many healthy looking dogs may also have worms. It is recommended that dogs are routinely wormed on a regular basis to eliminate this problem. How often should I worm my dog? As a general recommendation adult dogs should be wormed at least every 3 months. Puppies require more frequent worming until they are 6 months old as many pups will already have some worms when they are born. To minimise the amount of worms passed to the pup it is very important that pregnant bitches are also wormed with a product safe to use in pregnancy. Your vet will be able to advise you about the best worming regime based on your dog’s lifestyle.
I think my dog has got fleas. What should I do to get rid of them?
Fleas are a very common problem for dogs and in some cases can cause skin reactions to both dog and owner. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, this is a problem that can easily be eliminated. There are many flea preparations available and your vet will be able to advise you on the correct one for your pet. Read the packaging of any medicinal product carefully and do not use dog products on cats unless your vet has instructed you to do this, since some dog treatments are potentially very dangerous when used on cats. If you have found fleas on your dog, there is a high possibility that there will also be fleas in your house. Although some products used on cats and dogs have activity on fleas within the home, it is often advisable to treat the house with an appropriate household spray too. You should continue to treat your pet against fleas regularly as a preventative measure to avoid reinfestation.
Should I brush my dog’s teeth?
Many dogs enjoy regular chewing. Rawhide chews are popular and are available in medicated form and this type of exercise can be helpful in delaying the onset of dental disease. However just like people, dog’s teeth can get a build up of tartar on them which ultimately leads to gum and dental disease. It is a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, preferably every day. This can take some practice at first as your dog gets used to the idea. It is often easiest to start this regime when your dog is a puppy as they are more willing to accept new ideas at this stage. Dog toothbrushes and toothpaste are available and if you are unsure how to brush your dog’s teeth, contact your veterinary practice and one of the vets or nurses will be able to show you. Ensure you only use dog toothpaste as human toothpaste contains a foaming agent which should not be used in dogs. Bad breath, or difficulty experienced in brushing your dog’s teeth may indicate a problem, and a veterinary opinion should be sought.
Should I insure my pet?
Insuring your pet will give you peace of mind that should they be involved in an accident or suffer from illness the veterinary fees will be covered (minus any excess or exemptions). There are many different policies available and it is a good idea to read through the policy details very carefully. Different policies will have different excesses and limits. Some are lifelong policies and some will only cover diseases for one year. Ensure you know what will and won’t be covered with the policy you choose.
What do I need to do if I want to travel abroad with my dog?
Your veterinary practice will be able to advise you on the details of taking your dog abroad. The process involves microchipping, rabies vaccination, blood sampling and a Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) passport. This is a lengthy process and it takes at least 7 months from the vaccination day until your dog would be able to return to the UK. You need to also consider protecting your dog against some infectious diseases that dogs could be exposed to that are not present in the UK. Again, your vet will be able to advise you on the best preventative measures available.
How often should I carry out a healthcheck on my pet?
You should check your pet on a daily basis to make sure there are no signs of disease or injury. Simple changes in behaviour in relation to feeding, activity and toilet habits often give a clue that all is not normal. If in doubt or you find anything abnormal contact your vet for advice. How often should I take my dog to the vet? Your dog will require annual vaccination and at this point a full health examination will be carried out by your vet. Your vet may advise more frequent visits if there are aspects of your dog’s health that require regular monitoring. If you have any concerns about your dog, contact your vet for advice.
What diseases should I vaccinate my dog against?
Your vet will be able to advise you on the vaccinations required based on your pet’s lifestyle. The majority of dogs in the UK are vaccinated against canine parvovirus, canine distemper, canine infectious hepatitis, canine parainfluenza and leptospirosis. Dogs that are socialising with other dogs should also be vaccinated against bordetella, which is the major cause of kennel cough. If you are taking your dog abroad it will also need a rabies vaccination. There’s an outbreak of parvovirus in my area.
Should I get my dog vaccinated against the disease?
If your dog is up-to-date with his vaccinations it is unlikely that he will require another vaccination. If you are unsure about your dog’s vaccination status, contact your vet to check. If your dog is not vaccinated or hasn’t been vaccinated for a long time, then vaccination will be the best way to offer your dog protection against this disease. If your dog is already incubating or has already developed a disease, vaccination is unlikely to be effective. Again, contact your vet for advice.
How often should I feed my dog?
Smaller, regular meals are better for your dog’s digestive system than 1 large meal. It is very important not to overfeed your dog as obesity is becoming a big problem. Stick to a measured quantity commercial balanced ‘complete’ diet and try to avoid too many treats as these contribute to obesity. Commercial diet guidelines are only a guide to quantity and the appropriate amount will depend on your dog’s lifestage and activity. Your veterinary surgeon should be able to give more specific advice. How often should I walk my dog? Regular daily exercise is essential for your dog’s health. At least 2 walks are recommended each day - the precise amount needed will vary depending on the specific breed and size of dog. Try to do the same amount of exercise every day, rather than a quick 10 minute walk during the week and a 3 hour hike at the weekend.
Should I get my pet microchipped?
A pet microchip is a tiny device containing a unique number. Microchipping your pet is a method of permanently identifying them with this unique number. This means that should your pet get lost or stolen the chances of being reunited with him is much higher. Animal rescue centres, the police and vets will scan any stray animal for a microchip, and if microchipped will be able to return the pet to its owner.
I think my dog is overweight. What should I do?
Obesity is a common problem in pet dogs and can cause many health problems. If you are concerned that your dog is overweight contact your veterinary practice. They will be able to weigh your dog for you and advise you on the target weight and how best to achieve this. They will also monitor your dog’s progress and make sure there are no medical reasons for your dog’s weight problem.
I've been bitten by a strange dog. Have I got rabies?
Fortunately the UK is currently free of fox rabies. Bites, however, can still be serious because some very unpleasant bacteria can live in dog’s mouths. Tetanus is also a specific risk that needs to be considered. Contact your vet for advice on dog bites as some infections, if left untreated, can prove to be very serious indeed.