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.

A Feline Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a busy period in our practice and the team work 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.

cat peers up through the branched of festive tree

The Tree

Cats have a tendency to want to explore and climb Christmas trees – especially ones bursting with shiny, sparkly decorations. A toppling tree is not an unusual occurrence in a home with a cat!

To prevent this, consider using a quality, heavy tree base which is structurally unlikely to collapse. It’s also worth considering keeping your cat out of the room with the tree when you are not home.

Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that pine needles are very sharp and can cause severe damage if ingested. The natural oil coating of the needles may cause mild irritation to a cats mouth and skin.

Tip: Don’t put wrapped catnip toys beneath the tree or hang chocolate decorations from the tree branches. Cat’s often know and this can be a direct invitation for inquisitive felines.

Cat playing with decorations which hang from a Christmas tree

The Decorations

Cat’s, particularly young cats, really love to play. It’s a good idea to make sure that all of the decorations in your home are securely hung, in locations where cats cannot reach or, where the decoration will not break if it falls.

Tinsel is particularly attractive to cats due to its glitter, crinkle, and the way it resembles many cat toys. Please be wary of allowing them to play with tinsel, as it can cause serious internal issues if ingested.

We would suggest that you avoid placing real poinsettias, mistletoe or holly plants around the home. These, like lilies, are very poisonous to cats.

Tip: For cats 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.

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 cat, we recommend that you avoid doing so.
Garlic, onions, chocolate, raisins, grapes and alcohol are all very poisonous to your cat. We particularly suggest that you avoid feeding your cat stuffing, gravy or fatty meat trimmings. Instead, there are lots of pet-friendly festive treats on the market such as Lily’s Kitchen.

Relaxed cat sleeping beneath a Christmas tree

Reducing Stress

With a lot happening in such a short period of time, the festive period can often be very stressful for all pets.

Consider putting decorations up over the course of a few days if you have a nervous cat to introduce changes to the home slowly, so that your cat may adjust.

We would recommend that you leave at least one room of the house untouched and unchanged so that your cat has somewhere familiar to hide. This is especially important if you have a lot of visitors or parties during the holidays.

Tip: If your pet is especially anxious, especially with fireworks, consider plugging in a Feliway 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 cattery in advance as they can be busy over the holiday period.

Fireworks Season

a photo of a firework sparkler

Fireworks are incredibly scary and stressful for most of our pets. Particularly in the days surrounding Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year, we receive a number of phone calls from concerned pet owners with anxious or frightened pets. However, measures can be taken in the home to lessen the fear during fireworks season.

Our main advice for all pets is to make sure that their microchip details are up to date with your correct address and contact details. You can check this via the PetLogs website here.

If your pet is particularly frightened, we advise you to prepare in advance with the following techniques:

For Dogs

  • Create quiet hiding spaces around your home where your dog can feel safe and secure.
  • Close all the windows and doors to muffle the fireworks noise, but do leave the doors open to let your dog move through the house as they would normally be able. You can also turn up the TV or radio to mask the sound.
  • Walk your dog during daylight hours before fireworks are likely to be set off. If you must walk your dog after dark, make sure that they are kept on the lead. The loud and sudden bangs often spook dogs and they may become disorientated or run away in fear.
  • Praise and comfort your pet if they are scared, this will help reassure them that they are okay. Do not scold them if they are behaving erratically as doing so will only increase their anxiety.
  • You can also distract your dog by feeding them treats or playing with them whilst the fireworks are going off.

For Cats

a tiny kitten sits atop a relaxed dog.
  • Keep your cat indoors, especially at night time. The loud and sudden bangs can frighten or disorientate them and they often become lost, or cannot find their way home.
  • Close and cover all of the windows in your house – but do allow access for them to move through all of the safe areas in your house. Confining cats to one area may increase their stress.
  • Create a safe hiding place, such as in a box or crate filled with blankets, treats and toys. It is a good idea to place this box higher up in your home, as cats feel safer when they are raised above the ground.
  • Remember to provide litter trays.
  • Turn on the TV, radio or music to muffle the sound of the fireworks. You can also distract them with treats or games.
  • Finally, behave as you usually would around your pet. If you are stressed, watching them very closely, or being overly affectionate then they will sense that something is wrong.

For Small Animals

Two guinea pigs infront of a peach backdrop
  • If possible, bring any outdoor hutches or cages inside. Where you are unable to do this, partly cover over the cage with large heavy blankets so that there is still an airflow, but the sounds and flashes are lessened.
  • Ensure that your pet’s cage has places in which it can hide and provide extra bedding to dull the noise.
  • If you are able to bring them indoors, close all curtains and windows and turn on the T.V. or radio to dull the noise.
  • Rabbits and guinea pigs are very sociable animals so keep them together or with a person who they are comfortable with. This will help them stay calm and feel safe.

If your pet is particularly anxious around fireworks season and you feel that they may need additional help, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the practice, a few weeks prior to the fireworks period. You can call us on 0141 339 1228, to speak to a member of the team.

a cat peers through a hole in a cardboard box

If your pet is particularly anxious around fireworks season and you feel that they may need additional help, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the practice, a few weeks prior to the fireworks period. You can call us on 0141 339 1228, to speak to a member of the team.

Hot Weather

puppy lies beside a pool on a sunny day

It is vitally important to ensure that your pet is kept cool and hydrated during the summer months. Scotland is not notorious for hot summers, but in recent years we have seen a noticeable rise in temperatures. And while this has been great for us, our pets have been feeling the changes.

Pets are not as efficient at regulating their own body temperature as their owners are, and this makes them much more prone to heat stroke. Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds such as Boxers, Pugs and French Bulldogs are at particular risk and owners need to keep a special eye on them on hot days.

Displays tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather. Heat stroke is easily preventable. To avoid overheating we recommend that you:

  • Walk your pet early in the morning and later in the evenings when the temperature is moderately cooler.
  • Keep pets in cool shaded areas.
  • Ensure that fresh cold water is available at all times.

If you have bunnies kept in hutches, please ensure that the hutch is kept out of direct sunlight and allow them time to run around the garden (with plenty of shade and water of course). Also, Flystrike is especially common during summer months so it is important to regularly check around their back end and tail region.

Please also remember to never leave a pet in a car or caravan on warm days, not even for short periods or with the windows left open. Vehicles tend to retain heat, which creates the right environment for heat stroke to develop rapidly.

There is an emerging market of cooling vests, mats and toys that are designed to regulate your pet’s temperature during the warmer months. Many pet owners find these useful and we have a small selection available for purchase in the practice.

If you have questions or you would like further advice about keeping your pet cool on warmer days, please don’t hesitate to phone and speak to a member of our team on 0141 339 1228.

The 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 you should:

  • Move them immediately to a cool shaded area.
  • Place all four paws in cool water.
  • Soak towels with cold (but not icy) 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.

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.