A Pooch Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a busy period in our practice and the team works especially hard to ensure that all of the animals and their owners have a safe and merry holiday.

To help, we’ve made a list of things to consider when decorating and celebrating, as well as some helpful tips to ensure a smooth, stress-free month.

small dog standing amongst wrapped christmas presents

The Food

There is an abundance of rich food around during the holidays and while it’s super tempting to want to share it with your dog, we really recommend that you avoid doing so, or treat them only in small quantities.

Garlic, onions, leeks, chocolate, xylitol (artificial sweetener), blue cheese, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes and alcohol are all poisonous to your dog. We particularly suggest that you avoid feeding them stuffing, gravy or any carcass bones which can cause internal obstructions if consumed.

Instead, there are lots of pet-friendly festive treats on the market such as Lily’s Kitchen. You could also give your pup white meat such as chicken or turkey without the skin of bones.

Tip: Why not have a bash at making your own Christmas dog treats! Dog’s Trust have created some fun festive recipes here.

Dog lying in front of Christmas Tree with a Santa hat in it's mouth

The Decorations

It’s not unusual for both dog and cat owners to come home to a toppled tree at this time of year. If you have a particularly excitable dog, we would recommend investing in a quality, heavy tree base which is structurally unlikely to collapse. It’s also worth considering keeping your dog out of the room with the tree when you are not home.

Occasionally dogs do try to play with tree decorations and tinsel, we suggest that you are careful about what your dog is allowed to play with, as swallowed baubles and tinsel can, and often do, cause severe internal obstructions.

If you are hanging any particularly delicate or edible tree decorations, be sure to place these high up, out of your dogs reach.

Though they aren’t necessarily life-threatening, plants like Poinesttas, Mistletoe, Ivy & Holly are all toxic to dogs and we would recommend keeping them out of reach of your dog if you are keeping them in the home.

Tip: For dogs with a tendency to chew, be sure to cover all wiring with plastic or cardboard coverings. Also, it’s worth considering LED battery powered lights as an alternative.

man in festive jumper holds out a wrapped gift for his dog

Presents

Christmas morning is wonderful and most dogs absolutely want to be in on the action. If you have presents that you know contain chocolate, we’de recommend waiting until Christmas morning before bringing them out. A nosey pup will surely want to open that one for you!

In the fray of present opening, keep an eye out for your dogs getting their paws on silica gel sachets, batteries or children’s toys which they are likely to swallow.

Tip: Distract your dog with a chew toy, or wrap up them up some special gifts to unwrap themselves!

Two sleeping dogs hide under a blanket.

Reducing Stress

There is a lot going on over the festive period and we tend to be pretty busy. Disruption to regular routine can be quite stressful for our dogs. To reduce this stress, try to keep to your dogs regular routine as much as possible.

If you have an older or nervous dog, keep their bed and some fresh water in an untouched, quiet part of the house. If the business of the festive period becomes too much, they will have somewhere familiar to hide away.

Final Tip: If your pet is especially anxious, especially with fireworks, consider plugging in a Adaptil diffuser in your home, or contact the practice for additional advice to help keep your pet calm and happy.

Final Considerations

  • If your pet is on medication, stock up before the holidays so you don’t get caught out. You can call the practice on 0141 339 1228, or order online here.

  • If you are going away for Christmas, make sure to organise a sitter or kennel in advance as they can be busy over the holiday period.

Dog Castration

Neutering is a surgical procedure also known as spaying for female dogs and castration for male dogs. Depending on breed and size, most male and female dogs will reach puberty between 6 and 23 months. We generally recommend neutering dogs from 6 months onward.

cat and dog lie together on a grey sofa

We strongly recommend that all bitches should be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies and potential health complications later in life.

Male dogs can be castrated at the owner’s request but we always recommend that you discuss this beforehand with one of our vets or nurses. Should we decide to go ahead with castration, it is ideal that this is done early on to potentially improve the dog’s temperament and reduce the later development of unwanted behaviours.

What does Castration Involve?

Castration is a surgical procedure that involves complete removal of your dog’s testes. As with spaying, it is a fairly routine operation which still involves surgery and therefore, should not be taken lightly.

Castration is performed as a day operation at the practice. Your dog will be pre-medicated with sedatives and painkillers and then given a general anaesthetic. A small incision will be made midline from the underside of your dog, up to the scrotum in order to remove the testes. The incision will be subsequently stitched.

After the operation, your dog will be looked after and monitored by one of our trained auxiliaries to ensure that they come around comfortably.

Once we are happy that your dog is recovering well, we will give you a phone to arrange a time for them to go home later that same day.  Once home, your dog should be kept calm and comfortable. Exercise should be restricted for at least 10 days, or as advised by the vet. The veterinary surgeon who performed the castration will advise on the best post-operative care following surgery and will also provide you with 5 days of post-op pain relief. This is included in the full price of the castration.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Castrating my Dog?

golden retriever lies on blue dog bed

The key concern that many owners have about castration is that it will alter their dog’s personality. While this is partially true, there are also potential benefits to castration.

Advantages

  • Dogs who have not been castrated are sometimes prone to going missing and roaming the streets searching for female dogs in heat. Castration stops the production of testosterone and can help to reduce or eliminate these behaviours.
  • Castration completely prevents your dog from fathering unwanted pregnancies.
  • Some male dogs are naturally prone to dominant and aggressive behaviours. When castrated, your dogs’ testosterone levels will diminish, which can lead to a marked decrease in these kinds of behaviours.
  • Some male dogs also like to mark their territory by urinating around your home. Their drive to procreate can also make them prone to mounting behaviour. You might find that your dog takes an interest in everything; your sofa, your cushions and even you! Castration can help to reduce these behaviours by removing the testosterone that underpins them.
  • Complete removal of the testes will prevent the development of unwanted and potentially fatal disease such as testicular tumours. Removal of the testes also prevents the development of testosterone-related diseases occurring later in life, such as perineal hernias, prostatic diseases and anal adenomas.

Disadvantages

  • Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that castration will solve developed problem behaviours. While these behaviours are primarily driven by testosterone, your dog may have already developed habits which can continue, despite them no longer producing this hormone. Castration does not guarantee a change in your dog’s temperament or learned behaviours. Castrating dogs at a younger age is more likely to be beneficial, as younger dogs have not yet developed sufficient levels of testosterone to establish bad habits. However, even this is not foolproof and some dogs who are castrated at 6 months, continue to develop unwanted behaviours.
  • Weight gain can be an issue in castrated dogs, but this is easily controlled with diet and exercise.
  • Castration is an operation that involves anaesthetic, open surgery and the removal of organs, all of which carry a certain amount of risk.
  • As with spaying, castrating your dog will alter their hormones, which can on occasion result in a change in coat texture. Should this occur, you can discuss with your vet about possible remedying through diet and vitamin supplements.
  • If your dog is especially nervous, castration can make them worse due to the lack of testosterone. In such cases, it’s best to discuss castration with one of our veterinary surgeons.

If you have any questions or concerns about castration, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Receive 20% off neutering with our Pet Health Club! Click here to find out how you can save money!

Further Information:

Dog Vaccinations

Why should I vaccinate my dog?

Vaccinating your dog is one of the most important ways in which you can keep your dog healthy.

Vaccinations protect dogs from the following infectious diseases:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Kennel Cough

Sadly we do occasionally see cases of these diseases in Glasgow, and so we strongly recommend that all dog owners vaccinate their pets to keep them safe.

vaccinate - two dogs play with a stick in a field

How often should I vaccinate my dog?

Puppies are typically vaccinated between 8 – 10 weeks. They require two vaccinations, 2 – 4 weeks apart, to ensure full coverage.

Following this ‘primary course’, an annual booster is required each year after to ensure your dog stays protected.

Full ‘head-to-toe’ veterinary health checks are also provided during each vaccination as standard. This is to make sure that your pet is healthy, to spot any underlying issues and to address and other concerns that you may have.

What about Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a hacking, hoarse sounding cough which can develop rapidly and cause other breathing problems in dogs. This is prevented with a separate Kennel Cough vaccination.

Unfortunately, Kennel Cough is an incredibly contagious disease and we do see many cases of it every year in Glasgow.

Most boarding kennels, doggy daycares and dog walkers require you to vaccinate your dog against Kennel Cough.

vaccinate - a girl walks with a dog on a lead down and outdoor path

Vaccinations are included in the Pet Health Club. Click here to find out more ways that you could save money!

Spaying Dogs

Neutering is a surgical procedure also known as spaying for female dogs and castration for male dogs. Depending on breed and size, most male and female dogs will reach puberty between 6 and 23 months. We generally recommend neutering dogs from 6 months onward.

We strongly recommend that all bitches should be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies and potential health complications later in life.

Male dogs can be castrated at the owner’s request but we always recommend that you discuss this beforehand with one of our vets or nurses. Should we decide to go ahead with castration, it is ideal that this is done early on to potentially improve the dog’s temperament and reduce the later development of unwanted behaviours.

Bitch Spay

Female dogs who have not been spayed usually have a season every 6 months. Seasons last roughly 3 weeks and it is during this time that a female dog may become pregnant. We generally advise that spaying be performed soon after 6 months, and prior to the first season. If your dog has already had a season, then we recommend that neutering be performed around 3 months after the season has ended. This should be discussed with one of our vets in order to decide the best course for your dog.

What does Spaying Involve?

Spaying is a surgical procedure in which your dog’s ovaries and uterus are removed. It is a  routine operation that we perform daily at the practice, however, it still involves major surgery and the risks should be taken seriously.

Spaying is performed as a day operation in the practice. Your dog will be pre-medicated with sedatives and pain killers and then given a general anaesthetic. An incision will be made on your dog’s lower abdomen to perform the operation, which will be subsequently stitched.

After the operation, your dog will be cared for and monitored by one of our trained auxiliaries to ensure that they come around comfortably. Once we are happy that your dog is recovering well, we will give you a phone to arrange a time for her to go home later that same day. 

Once home, your dog should be kept calm and comfortable. Exercise should be restricted for at least 10 days, or as advised by the vet. The veterinary surgeon who performed the spay will advise on the best post-operative care following surgery and will provide you with 5 days of post-op pain relief. This is included in the full price of the Bitch Spay.

It is common practice for us to request that you bring your dog back to the practice 3 and 10 days following the surgery to have the wound checked by one of our nurses. These follow-up appointments are standard procedure and free-of-charge.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Spaying my Dog?

We often get asked this question by concerned owners who’ve been exposed to varying, usually conflicting advice from magazines, friends and online sources. We would recommend that all female dog owners consider spaying as the advantages far outweigh the risks involved.

Advantages:

  • This procedure completely prevents unwanted pregnancies, as well as false pregnancies (more information on false pregnancies is provided below).
  • Removal of the ovaries and uterus completely prevents your dog from developing uterine and ovarian tumours.
  • Your dog is also prevented from developing serious uterine infections, such as Pyometra.
  • Spaying your dog has been found to significantly decrease the risk of tumours developing in the mammary glands. Research has found that the younger the operation is performed, the better they are protected from developing mammary tumours.
  • Bitches who have not been spayed will be victims of constant attention from male dogs in the neighbourhood when they do come into season.
  • Finally, when dogs come into season they, like humans, bleed regularly. If your dog is spayed, she will not come into season and you will not have to keep her on a lead and away from other dogs. Nor will you have to use nappies or clean the bloodstains around your home.

Disadvantages:

  • Spaying is an operation that involves general anaesthetic and major surgery, both of which can be a risk to your dog.
  • Weight gain can be an issue for spayed dogs, but this is easily controlled with diet and exercise.
  • Spaying your dog will alter their hormones, which can very occasionally result in an altered coat texture. Should this occur, you can discuss with your vet about possible remedying through diet and vitamin supplements.

Please talk to one of our vets if you would like more information on spaying your dog.

False Pregnancies

Also called ‘phantom’ pregnancies, false pregnancies are a common condition in which the dog develops all the symptoms of pregnancy, such as lactation and nursing, without having been mated.

The symptoms usually appear around 2 months after your dog’s season ends, and can include: 

  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Nest making
  • Nursing soft toys
  • Mammary development
  • Lactation
  • Other behavioural changes

If your dog develops these symptoms, please contact the practice for advice. False Pregnancies do not occur in dogs that have been spayed.

Pet Health Club members receive 20% off neutering procedures. Click here to find out more!

Further Information:

Dog Nutrition

The nutritional needs of your dog will vary depending on age, breed and activity level. It’s vitally important that you feed your dog a balanced and complete diet which is specific to their needs, to ensure a healthy and happy life.

You should try to stick to one type of diet for your dog to avoid digestive issues and complications. Even if you have a ‘fussy’ pet, it really is better to stick to a single type of food that your pet can easily digest, and that does not cause digestive issues.

A suitable diet should:

  • Be easily digested.
  • Produce dark brown, formed and firm stools.
  • Not cause severe wind, diarrhoea or soft, pale stools.

If you are looking to change your pet’s diet, we recommend that you do this gradually over the course of a week to avoid any upset tummy’s.

Types of diet: 

  • Dry food – There is a wide range of complete dry dog foods on offer but we generally recommend that you buy the best quality food that you can afford. Dry foods may seem more costly than wet or tinned alternatives, but dogs do not require as much dry food and so the costs often work out the same.
  • Wet or tinned – Again we recommend that you choose the highest quality diet that you can afford. You should also try to find a complete diet, that does not require additional or supplementary food to be added.

If you are struggling to choose the most suitable diet for your dog, we suggest that you have a chat to your vet, who will be able to make more specific recommendations based on your pets breed, age and lifestyle.

Advice for Puppies

When you first collect your puppy, the breeder will advise you of their current diet, and give tips on moving forward. Puppies grow at a rapid rate and require a tailored diet to aid healthy growth and development.

We recommend that you feed your puppy 3-4 meals per day from 12 weeks – 6 months of age. This may seem like a lot, but remember your puppy is developing rapidly – not to mention their constant high energy levels!

After 6 months, the number of meals should gradually be reduced down to 2 meals per day.

If you have questions about when or how to transition your puppy on to adult food, give us a phone or make an appointment to chat with a member of our team.

Advice for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs are more susceptible to illness, developing age-related conditions and serious weight changes. It is important to keep an eye on your older dog as changes can come on so gradually that it is sometimes difficult to notice when something is wrong.

The senior diets on the market are typically low in calories to help weight control. Many diets also may target specific age-related conditions. For this reason, we strongly recommend that when considering a senior diet, you consult a member of our team first.

We will soon be rolling out Senior Clinics, run by our Vet Nurses, aimed at caring specifically for our pets as they grow into their senior years.

More information to come soon.

Dental Health

promoting dental health a cat brushes a dogs teethIt’s important to begin dental care with your pet from a young age in order to prevent complications later in life.

Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth and puppies have 28 deciduous teeth. Puppies tend to lose their deciduous teeth between 3-6 months.

Common Dental Problems 

  • Plaque – like humans, pets can suffer from a build-up of plaque on their teeth. This is a soft sticky deposit that contains millions of bacteria and accumulates on teeth. 

 

  • Tartar – is very common and can only be removed through scaling and polishing the teeth. For pets, this procedure requires a general anaesthetic, so we strongly encourage owners to develop a good dental health regime from a young age to avoid dental surgery later on in life.

 

  • Gingivitis and other forms of Gum Disease – This is a bacterial infection caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar. The gums become inflamed and sore, creating cavities between the gums and teeth. The infection usually starts with one tooth and, if left untreated, quickly spreads causing further pain and tooth loss.

 

  • Receding gums – If inflamed gums go unnoticed and are not treated, this can quickly snowball to bleeding, sore gums which recede away from the roots of the teeth. Should this occur, the teeth themselves become exposed to infection, potential loss and abscesses.

Recognising Dental Health Problems

Dogs can sometimes be reluctant to let us know when there is something wrong with them, and dental issues are no exception. However, there are symptoms that are common to both cats and dogs that owners should be aware of. These include:two dogs play with stick in field - dental health

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing the mouth
  • Red, bleeding gums
  • Discomfort when eating
  • Reduced food intake
  • Weight loss

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms and you are worried, please contact us straight away. Remember, we offer free nurse dental checks at the practice so it will cost you nothing to put your mind at ease.

Preventing Dental Health Problems

The following measures are effective, relatively inexpensive and will be beneficial to both you and your pet. These include:

  • Try to develop a daily brushing habit. Some animals are initially adverse to this, so it’s best to begin as soon as possible when your pets are young enough to grow used to the brushing. We recommend that you introduce brushing gradually to your pet’s routine to increase the chance of success.
  • If they will let you, try checking the inside of your dog’s mouth on a regular basis to look for sores or inflammation.
  • Utilise some of the many pet dental products on the market such as flavoured toothpaste and special finger brushes. Our Veterinary Nurses will be happy to advise on which dental products would be most suitable for your pet.
  • Choose a high-quality dry food diet for your pet.
  • Avoid giving your pets sugary treats and human foods, especially the ones that are bad for human teeth too!

If you are concerned about your pet’s dental health, please contact the surgery

Further Information:

First Aid

It’s always good to be prepared for an emergency. Here you can find a few pointers to help you care for your pet in an emergency situation until veterinary care is obtained.

Remember, if you are unable to come straight into the practice with your pet, you can call us for immediate advice over the phone. 

The best thing to do is seek immediate veterinary advice, but in the meantime it is vital to prevent blood loss.

  • Gently clean the wound with lukewarm water. If it is only a slight graze, clean regularly and monitor.
  • If the would is bleeding, place a clean cloth, cotton wool or bandage over the wound and apply pressure either with your hands or by tying a bandage around the area. Never use an elastic band or constricting material as this may cut of the blood supply.
  • It is important that you stop your pet from licking any wound as this can cause infection and further damage to the injury.
  • If the wound is getting worse or your pet becomes unwell, please call us immediately. Remember, phone advice is free so do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Bees and wasps stings are incredibly common during the summer months  in Glasgow. If they are stung, our pets are often very good at letting us know by crying and drawing attention to the area.

If you suspect your pet has been stung, the first thing to do is check to see if the sting is still present and remove it if possible. If the sting is present it is likely to be a bee sting. When the sting is not present, this is a good indication of a wasp sting.

For bee stings – Mix small amount of water with some bicarbonate soda to make a paste, and apply to affected area.

For wasp stings – Make a solution of half vinegar and half water and use it to bathe the area. Bathing the sting may help ease discomfort.

Some animals have potentially fatal shock reactions to bee and wasp stings. If you feel that your animal is having a severe reaction to a sting then please call the practice immediately for advice.

It is also important to seek immediate veterinary advice if you suspect that your pet has been stung around the head, neck or mouth as this can make shock reactions more likely.

Our pets eyes are very delicate and unfortunately eye problems are a regular occurrence. Symptoms of these  commonly include: swelling, redness and discharge.

If you suspect that you pet has developed an eye issue, please seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. Until this can be obtained, it is important to keep the eyes lubricated to prevent drying out. This can be done by bathing with a clean cloth that’s been soaked with cooled boiled water.

If left untreated, eye problems can cause long-term health issues. Therefore, even if the issue appears to be minor, we still recommend giving the practice a call for free over-the-phone advice.

Ear infections are also common in pets and cannot be treated without veterinary attention.

If your pet is excessively rubbing their ears, or appears to have developed a sudden hearing problem, we recommend that you inspect the inner ear on both sides to check for redness, swelling or discharge. 

Should you suspect a problem, it is important that you do not try to bath or pour liquid in the ears. This unfortunately  often makes the situation worse. As with eye health, ear infections can lead to permanent problems if left untreated and we strongly recommend that you contact the practice for further advice.

If your animal develops violent and sudden head shaking, it is likely that they have a foreign object stuck in the ear canal. Please do not attempt any sort of home treatment in these circumstances and seek immediate veterinary advice.

If your pet collapses and starts to twitch uncontrollably, it is likely that they are having a seizure or fit.

Should this occur, it is important that you try to remain as calm as possible. Your pet is very good at sensing your emotions, so if you are feeling stressed, they will be too.

If you witness your pet having a seizure please do not try to comfort, restrain or move them as you run the risk of injury to yourself and your pet. Instead, try to clear away items from around your pet – anything such as tables or chairs, which could potentially cause your pet further harm.

It is important to create a dark, quiet and calm environment by closing the curtains or blinds and turning off the lights, as well as any other surrounding stimuli, such as televisions or radios.

Take a note of the time of the incident, the approximate duration of it and any other observations that you feel might be important, such as twitching and stiffening of the legs.

Report the incident to your vet as soon as possible who will be able to help and advise. 

Signs that your pet is overheating include:

  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Glazed eyes.
  • Bright or dark red tongue and gums.
  • Staggering and stumbling.
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Weakness and collapse.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Unconsciousness.

If you suspect that your pet is overheating:

  • Move them immediately to a cool shaded area.
  • Place all four paws in cool water.
  • Soak towels with cold water and place over your pet’s body and head, as well as under their arms and groin area. If using cool packs, please make sure they are covered with a towel.
  • Fill a bowl with cool water and encourage drinking.

Please be aware that heat stroke can develop and become serious very quickly. If you are at all concerned, contact us immediately on 0141 339 1228 or bring your pet straight down to the practice.

Parasites in Dogs

Worms, Fleas and Ticks are increasingly common parasites which may infest your dog without you even knowing. Whether by ingesting things they shouldn’t or by coming into contact with other infested pets or environments, the risk of your pooch contracting any of these parasites is incredibly high.

The sooner you begin parasite prevention the better. Parasites are often particularly difficult to treat once your dog is infested and there is a high risk that they will spread to other pets, humans and your home.

Worming

Most breeders will have wormed your new puppy before you take it home and if not, they will likely advise you on when to start.

The most common worms your puppy can come into contact with in the UK are roundworm, tapeworm and lungworm. Between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months, we strongly recommend that you worm your puppy on a monthly basis.

We supply worming medications in both tablet and spot-on forms, however for ease, we find that tablet wormers are by far the most popular. Once your puppy reaches six months of age, these can be given every three months and should be continued for the rest of their adult life.

If you live in an area where lungworm is a serious concern, then we recommend that you continue worming your dog on a monthly basis.

Our vets and nurses can advise on and supply the most suitable type of wormer for your dog. You can begin worming treatment by simply phoning up the practice to make a free parasite appointment with one of our nurses.

Fleas and Ticks

Similar to worming, fleas and ticks also pose a very common risk to our dogs.

As soon as your puppy is allowed outdoors, they are immediately at risk of infestation by playing with other animals or being walked in environments with flea larvae (eggs) and ticks. Therefore, we recommend that you start flea and tick parasite prevention from the age of 12 weeks and continue this for the rest of your dog’s life.

Flea and tick prevention medicines come in a variety of forms, including tablets, spot-on treatments and injections. This allows us to tailor your dog’s flea and tick treatment to their individual needs.

Some owners stop tick prevention treatments during the winter months, but we would advise against this as with milder winters, ticks are now seen on dogs all year round.

Due to the wide range of preventative medications, we recommend that you speak to one of our veterinary staff to select the most appropriate products for your pet.

Parasite Prevention is included in our Pet Health Club! Click here to find out how you can save money!