With the summer months nearly upon us our team of Registered Veterinary Nurses from PetGP offer these top tips for BBQ season.
Barbeques are popular over the summer months and enjoyable for all the family. However, we need to be aware of the dangers to pets.
Top Tips for BBQ safety:
Politely ask your guests not to feed your pets. Greasy burgers, sausages etc. could cause digestive upsets and more serious conditions.
Barbeque food also gets very hot so keep a close eye on your pet in case they get tempted to jump up and snatch a sausage or burger straight from the barbeque. They can also cause harm to themselves from the barbeque itself.
Keep rubbish in a secure container or move bags out of reach to prevent pets from eating scraps or bad food.
Corn on the cob’s can be particularly dangerous – especially when they are swallowed whole as they do not digest and can cause major problems, which may require surgery to remove
Cooked chicken bones, if ingested, can be fatal as the bone will shard and cause injury as it tried to travel through the digestive tract.
Kebab skewers are also a known danger at BBQ’s, if ingested they can pierce and cause real issues very quickly.
Top Tips for warmer weather:
Make sure there is adequate water to drink
Provide adequate ventilation
Avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day – walk your dog in the morning and late evening
Be aware of how hot the pavement is – if it feels hot for you to touch then it could be painful for your dog to walk on
Watch out for early signs of heat-stroke – heavy panting, restlessness and lack of coordination
If any heat related condition is suspected, pet’s should be taken to a cool place, given water to drink whilst seeking advice
Make sure flea and tick treatments are up to date – parasites love the warmer weather!
Don’t let your dog rest in direct sunlight – this includes inside conservatories, in front of windows, outside and NEVER in a car.
Dogs are sociable animals, throughout history they have always lived in packs or “family” groups. Cats, on the other hand are more independent and rarely suffer from separation anxiety. Some dogs crave the companionship of humans and some dogs are happier with other dogs. Either way they would prefer not to be alone for long periods of time. Most dogs should cope with being left for a few hours, particularly if this has happened from a young age. As the country comes out of "lockdown" we expect to see a dramatic increase in the numbers of pets developing Separation Anxiety.Signs your pet could be suffering from separation anxiety:
Your pet follows you from room to room when you are at home and become anxious when they cannot see you.
They become distressed when you prepare to leave the house.
Your pet becomes elated when you return home.
They show any of these physiological symptoms in relation to being on their own: panting, pacing, salivating/drooling, drinking excessively, increased heart rate, increased respiration rate and a need to go to the toilet.
How to prepare your pet for coming out of lockdownThere is no quick fix for this issue. With time and patience you can make your pet feel less worried and more relaxed when they are on their own. If you would like to talk about any of this or need veterinary advice then consider joining the PetGP member service https://pet-gp.co.uk/telephone-veterinary-nurse-service/Dogs If your dog hasn’t been crated before, introducing a cage at this stage may cause more stress so use stair gates to create barriers. Have a comfortable bed, water and food bowls and maybe a radio for company. Remember if your dog is a chewer to ensure these items are safe for them. Leave something in that area with your smell to give the dog a sense of security. You could also try using a pheromone diffuser like Adaptil. Choose a few days when you know you will be home and not have to leave the dog for too long. Throughout the first day randomly pop your dog in their safe area with a chew or filled Kong toy (chewing is a calming activity for a dog). Stay close but go about your business for a few minutes then open the gate, the dog can then choose to come out or carry on chewing in there. Build this up over the next few days to longer sessions with you going out of sight occasionally and eventually you should be able to leave the house knowing you have a calmer dog at home.Cats If you think your feline friend may be suffering from separation anxiety then try using a Feliway Classic pheromone diffuser. Make a safe comfortable place for them to hide. Somewhere high up or in a box would be ideal. Ensure they have access to a litter tray or a cat flap, water and food. Also consider leaving an item of clothing that smells like you nearby. Start by going out for very short periods of time and building this up slowly. In some instances, for both cats and dogs, you may need specialised advice depending on how extreme the signs are. If you think this is the case its always better to speak to your vet before contacting a behaviourist.
The UK is still in the grips of Covid 19 with restrictions and lockdown we try to adjust to social distancing and working from home. As the economy tries to continue, the need to adapt and work from home is a must for much of the world. Many benefits of this have been seen both for the owner and pet. Our Registered Vet Nurses have some tips on how best to look after our pets in these unprecedented times. If you would like any further advice or information, then have a look at the website for more information https://pet-gp.co.uk/telephone-veterinary-nurse-service/It is clear we love our pets, the immediate joy and companionship that comes from owning a pet is one shared across the world. The benefits of owning a pet stretch even further providing both physical and mental health benefits. The relationships we build with our pets offer not only companionship and encourage social interactions but can also help reduce stress and anxieties. Pets are not only a source of routine and motivation but help provide some purpose and help owners to feel needed. The gentle nudge of paw or wet nose can ease loneliness and offer comfort. Something simple like walking the dog can provide motivation and help an owner exercise. Stroking a pet and interacting with a pet helps relaxation and can have a calming effect supporting mental health. Providing care to an animal brings us joy and gives purpose and meaning to a day. Pets can even provide a sense of security and company with many people living alone and now working from home. Children like adults can also benefit from animal interaction and pet ownership just playing with a pet can stimulate the mind and body as well as providing a source of calmness. Owning a pet comes with great responsibility but also a sense of support and companionship and without question our pets offer unconditional love.
Tummy troubles in pets are one of the most common reasons owners contact a vet. The clinical signs of a gastric upset are vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, inappetence and lethargy. These symptoms can be present for a variety of reasons A sudden change in diet
Eating something that does not agree with them
Eating mouldy food
Ingestion of a foreign body that could be causing a blockage
A bacterial infection
Accidentally eating something toxic or poisonous
Trauma to the abdomen
Reaction to medication
Some symptoms can be managed at home. Reasons to contact your vet straight away would include:
Your pet being very young or very old
If your pet has a distended abdomen
Your pet being very lethargic
The general advice for adult cats and dogs with diarrhoea is to feed small amounts of bland food such as boiled chicken breast or white fish with rice or pasta more often than you normally would. Little and often keeps the intestines moving and should help the faeces firm up more quickly. For vomiting pets try withholding food for 24 hours from their last meal then reintroduce food as you would for diarrhoea, bland food little and often. If your pet seems to be improving, then think about slowly weaning them back onto their own food after 2 – 3 days. In all cases ensure your pet has access to fresh water. The most common toxins for pets are:
Xylitol (found in sugar free gum and sweets)
Ibuprofen for dogs and paracetamol for cats
Daffodil, Crocus and Bluebells (bulbs, leaves and flowers)
Lilies for cats
If you think your pet may have eaten something poisonous and they develop a tummy upset, then time is of the essence! You can contact one of our Registered Veterinary Nurses using this link https://pet-gp.co.uk/telephone-veterinary-nurse-service/to check if the substance is toxic and they will offer advice or ask you to contact your vet if they are concerned.