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Advice and frequently asked questions for your pets



PUPPY AND KITTEN QUESTIONS


When does a puppy or kitten start its vaccinations?
What is a spay?
What is castration?
What is the best way to identify my pet?


BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS


My dog is terrified of fireworks what can I do?
My cat / dog gets very stressed and nervous when travelling in a car. What can I do?
My dog pulls when walking. What do you recommend?
My dog barks at people and cars when out walking. How can I control this behaviour?
My dog is badly behaved when left alone. What can I do?


PARASITE QUESTIONS


What is a parasite?
How can I tell if my dog or cat has worms?
How often should I worm my pet?
Can my children be affected by my pets worms?
Is there a worm treatment which clears all worms?
How do I control fleas on my pet?
Are flea collars very effective?
Do I need a household spray to control dog or cat fleas?
How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
How do I remove a tick?


IMMUNISATION QUESTIONS


What is Parvo Virus?
What is Canine Distemper?
What is Kennel Cough?
Does my pet really need a Rabies vaccination?
My cat stays inside all the time. Why does it need vaccinations?
We have adopted a stray cat. Should I do anything special before I let it play with my other cats?


REPRODUCTIVE QUESTIONS


How long is a dog or cat in season?
How long does pregnancy last in a dog or cat?
Will spaying or neutering my dog or cat make them fat and lazy?
Can my female dog be spayed while she is in heat or while she is pregnant?
How soon after my dog or cat has had puppies or kittens can she be spayed?
I've heard that letting my female have a litter makes her a better pet. Is this true?
If I neuter my cat, will he stop spraying my furniture?
Couldn't I just give my a dog a vasectomy? Why does he have to be castrated?


MEDICAL QUESTIONS


My dog was accidentally hit by a car but appears fine. Is it okay to watch him for a while?
My cat is going to his litter box a lot and seems uncomfortable. What does that mean?
My dog licks his feet all the time. Why?
What is a dog's or cat's normal temperature?
My dog has diarrhoea. What can I do?
My dog is "scooting" his behind on the carpet - Does he have worms?
What is the best food to feed my pet?
Is it normal for my cat to vomit hairballs?
My dog smells. What could it be?
My dog has been coughing for several days. What should I do?
My dog (cat) has licked up some antifreeze. Will this hurt him?
My cat / dog is over weight. What can I do?
My dog / cat has bad breath. What is the cause of this?
My old dog / cat suffers from joint stiffness and struggles with day to day movement. What treatments are there to help?

 

 

PUPPY AND KITTEN ANSWERS


When does a puppy or kitten start its vaccinations?

Puppy vaccinations can be started at 8 weeks of age with the second being given 2 weeks later at a minimum age of 10 weeks. Immunity then develops 10 days after this which is when your puppy can meet the world. Vaccination boosters are done yearly.
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What is spaying?
Spaying is the common term for neutering both female cats and dogs this entails a complete ovariohysterectomy, or the removal of the entire uterus and ovaries . We recommend that you consult your veterinary surgeon about the best age for this to be done.
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What is castration
This is the term for the removal of the testicles in both dogs and cats. We recommend that you consult your veterinary surgeon about when this is best done.
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What is the best way to identify my pet?
Keep a collar with identification on them at all times. A cat should wear an elasticized or breakaway collar. Microchipping is also available which is a permanent electronic chip implanted in the back of the neck which is best done at the time of the second vaccination. The details about you and your pet are kept securely on a national data base. All dog wardens and vets scan for this chip so if your pet is lost, it will be easily reunited with you.
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BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEM ANSWERS



My dog is terrified of fireworks what can I do?
The most widely effective product on the market is called Adaptil previously known as DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone). This is a natural calming agent for dogs. It is a pheromone (a natural body chemical) which is produced by nursing bitches. The most useful for firework phobia is a plug-in vaporiser which releases the pheromone into the air (like a plug-in air freshener). It also comes as an aerosol spray or an impregnated collar. By putting one of these vaporisers in a room where the dog would normally relax, or sleep, he naturally calmed. It is important to introduce the vaporiser about 2 weeks before the main problem period and to reinforce the effect during bad periods of noise by playing a Sounds Scary CD. This usually controls signs of fear in 80% of dogs.

Zylkene is another product, which helps to manage stress in dogs and cats. Many common situations are stressful for pets; including cattery/kennel stays, house moves, arrival of a new pet or baby, sudden noises e.g. fireworks, travel, vet or groomer visits and the Christmas period. Many cats also find living in a multicat household stressful. There are many different signs of stress, and not all animals react in the same way or are stressed by the same thing.

Ignore any fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort your pet. The animal will pick up on your anxiety and this may make the problem worse.
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My cat / dog gets very stressed and nervous when travelling in a car. What can I do?
Motion sickness and fear are the basic components of this problem. The fear part can be controlled by use of pheromones such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. Zylkene is another very safe medicine which is also very useful in this situation. Sickness in dogs can be controlled with Cerenia which is a very effective prescription drug. Motion sickness in dogs usually fades with maturity which is helped by conditioning by starting with tiny journeys and gradually increasing the time and distance.

Ignore any fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort your pet. The animal will pick up on your anxiety and this may make the problem worse. Fussing a pet that appears frightened can reward and encourage this behaviour.
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My dog pulls when walking. What do you recommend?
Simply STOP every single time you note that the dog is about to put the slightest tension on the leash and the pulling will go away. This may seem a bit simplistic but It will work. If you tire your dog out first with a good game of fetch and then take him for a walk in a quiet non-distracting place every day with only ONE goal: to walk without tension and you absolutely refuse to take a single forward step when you feel tension on the leash, he will discover that pulling is "broken" and that the tension is a cue to slacken the lead.

Dog pulling - Halti - Clix Trainer


He will have good days and bad, but if you are diligent he will get better. If you have major problems with pulling, for example a large powerful dog, then the use of a Halti or a Harness a and often a Clix Trainer will help but persistent training is the ultimate solution.
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My dog barks at people and cars when out walking. How can I control this behaviour?
Training and socialisation from an early age are essential requirements. Puppy parties and dog training classes are widely available. If the reason for the barking is due to separation anxiety, territorial security or just a highly strung nervous disposition then the use of pheromones such as Adaptil and a calming product such as Zylkene are very useful. In very severe cases a prescription sedative from your vet may be necessary. Out walking Halti collars give subtle control while humane aniti barking collars such as Aboistop may be required. The moment your dog barks, a spray of citronella, which is painless and harmless, is released and surprises it. The effect of surprise is sufficient to interrupt the dog in its undesirable behaviour. In a few days, the dog learns to keep quiet while wearing the collar and concentrate on more normal activities.
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My dog is badly behaved when left alone. What can I do?
Your relationship with your dog may have become too close so initially you will have to cool this. He has to learn to be more independent, so don't give him a constant stream of attention whenever he demands it. Instead, dedicate certain times of the day for playing and petting, and have other times when you ignore his demands. Before you begin actually leaving him, you need to get him used to being separated from you in the house. As you walk from room to room, try shutting the doors between you. At first do this for a few seconds and then re-enter the room as if nothing has happened. Continue to do this, gradually increasing the length of time that you are separated. Once you can close doors between you and walk freely around the house without him panicking, then you can try the next step which is leaving the house. Initially you are just going to walk in and out of the house for a few seconds at a time. Do not make a fuss of the dog before leaving. On your return, do not make a fuss of him immediately. Next gradually increase the time you leave him. If there has been a problem while you were gone do not blame or punish him.

As an aid to training the use of pheromones such as Adaptil possibly with a calming product such as Zylkene will help. In severe cases a prescription drug such as Clomicalm may be required to supplement the training. You may want to discuss your situation with your vet who may refer you to a specialised canine behaviourist.
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PARASITE ANSWERS



What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives at the expense of another living being. In our pets, these usually take the form of intestinal worms (internal parasites) and fleas and ticks (external parasites).
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How can I tell if my dog or cat has worms?
Certain parasites, such as tapeworms, are visible to the naked eye. These look like grains of rice around the rectum. Others can only be detected under the microscope.
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How often should I worm my pet?
Adult dogs and cats need routine worming every 3 months with a product such as Drontal or Milbemax. Puppies need rather more frequent dosing for further information . click here
<< BackPet worms - Panacur


Can my children be affected by my pets worms?
Yes . particularly round worms especially from young puppies and kittens. Puppies should be treated from 2 weeks of age and kittens from 6 weeks with a product such as Panacur. Click here for more details.
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Is there a worm treatment which clears all worms?
Unfortunately not. A combination of treatment is usually required. Advocate and Stronghold spot on flea preparations will also treat round worms so an effective medication for tapeworms such as Droncit or Milbemax is also required at least every 6 months. Advocate is a prescription flea and roundworm spot on treatment which also treats lungworm in dogs, a condition which is becoming more common particularly in the South of the country.
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How do I control fleas on my pet?
Spot on preparations like Effipro, Advantage, Advantix, Promeris and Advocate are very effective flea treatments. Using Program as well very effectively breaks the flea life cycle. Program is a pill for dogs or a liquid for cats which is given by mouth monthly. It is also available as an injection for cats which lasts 6 months (available from your veterinary surgeon). Program makes female fleas lay sterile eggs - so called "birth control" for fleas. Both products are very SAFE for your pets and your children.

Never give dog flea treatments to cats as they can be fatal.
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Are flea collars very effective?
Not really. Since they are placed around the neck of the pet, they usually cannot kill any fleas which are around the tail of your pet. There are much better forms of flea control. click for more details.
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Do I need a household spray to control dog or cat fleas?
These sprays are another weapon against fleas and control the immature forms of the life cycle. Products such as Vet Kem Acclaim, Staykill, Indorex and Skoosh will protect your house for up to 12 months. Indorex is also active against house dust mites which are frequently involved in pet and human allergies. Skoosh contains no insecticides and therefore is very safe.
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How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
Advantix is one of the better products for preventing and treating ticks on dogs. (This products must NOT be used on cats). You should know that ticks carry of diseases including Lymes Disease which can affect humans.
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How do I remove a tick?
Ticks can be physically removed using a tick remover. Tweezers can be used but great care must be taken so that no mouth parts are left behind. Alternatively Frontline Spray or a drop of Effipro or Frontline Spot On can be applied to the tick which will then die and the mouth parts will be easier to remove after 48 hours. If any mouth parts remain they can cause irritation, inflammation or even an abscess which might require veterinary advice.
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IMMUNISATION ANSWERS



What is Parvo Virus?
Parvo virus is a disease that causes vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. This virus is deadly and can be contracted from any substance, such as the soil or walking in the same area as a dog which has been incubating the virus . We recommend vaccinating your dog once a year for adequate protection.
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What is Canine Distemper?
Distemper is a highly contagious disease among dogs. It is almost always fatal. Although it is more common in puppies than in adult dogs, all dogs are susceptible to it. We recommend yearly vaccinations against this dangerous disease.
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What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough is a respiratory disease usually contracted in areas where large numbers of dogs are housed such as a kennel or a grooming salon. It is transmitted by close contact so they can get it from any dog. There is a vaccine available for protection against Kennel Cough.
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Does my pet need a Rabies vaccination?
NO not unless you intend to travel abroad with it. If you are consider doing this then you need to investigate the full implications by visiting the DEFRA web site . www.defra.gov.uk
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My cat stays inside all the time. Why does it need vaccinations?
If you ever have a personal emergency where you have to board your cat or a medical emergency where your cat must be hospitalized, the unvaccinated cat will be vulnerable to any of the feline diseases. It may be even more susceptible than other cats since it has never been exposed to any type of disease. You can also unknowingly bring some viruses home on your clothing from a stray or other sick cat.
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We have adopted a stray cat. Should I do anything special before I let it play with my other cats?
You should have the new cat examined by your vet before exposing it to your cats. The new cat should be tested for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and Feline Leukemia - two deadly diseases that could be transmitted to your cats. Also, we strongly recommend that you have your new cat vaccinated as soon as possible.
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REPRODUCTIVE ANSWERS



How long is a dog or cat in season?
A dog is in season (or heat) for about 21 days. The first 10 days include bleeding from the vagina, then your dog is ready to accept the male. A cat is completely different from a dog. They go in and out of season all year round until they are either bred or spayed. It always best to spay your pet if you do not intend to breed her so that she does not develop breast cancer or uterine problems.
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How long does pregnancy last in a dog or cat?
A dog is pregnant for 63 days and a cat for 61 days. Ideally the newborns should be examined by a vet within 24-48 hours.
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Will spaying or neutering my dog or cat make them fat and lazy?
No. Spaying or neutering will not contribute to obesity if you are sensible with your pets diet and give them plenty of exercise you should not have a problem.
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Can my female dog be spayed while she is in heat or while she is pregnant?
It is best to wait until a female is out of heat before she is spayed. During the heat cycle all the blood vessels that lead to the ovaries and uterus are inflamed and this makes surgery more of a risk to the dog. A bitch can be spayed if she is early pregnant but you should discuss this with your vet.
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How soon after my dog or cat has had puppies or kittens can she be spayed?
As soon as the puppies or kittens are weaned and the mother's milk had dried up, she can be spayed.
<< BackAnimed pet advice - puppies


I've heard that letting my female have a litter makes her a better pet. Is this true?
No, In fact, the more heat cycles and pregnancies she has increases the chances of mammary tumours later in life. Some pets also have behavioural changes after having a litter.
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If I neuter my cat, will he stop spraying my furniture?
When a cat sprays, he is exhibiting the male tendency to mark his territory with urine. Neutering decreases his male hormones and makes him much less likely to exhibit this undesirable trait (Although - neutering does not guarantee that he will stop spraying). The use of a pherormone such as Feliway is very helpful in these circumstances.
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Couldn't I just give my a dog a vasectomy? Why does he have to be castrated?
A vasectomy, although it makes your dog incapable of breeding, does nothing to diminish his sexual drive. He will still roam, still fight with other dogs and still tend to be aggressive. By castrating, you reduce the hormones that are causing the undesirable behaviours.
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MEDICAL ANSWERS



My dog was accidentally hit by a car but appears fine. Is it okay to watch him for a while?
No, shock can mask concussion or life threatening internal injuries which need to be treated immediately. It is best to contact a veterinarian anytime your pet has been in an accident with a car.
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My cat is going to his litter box a lot and seems uncomfortable. What does that mean?
Cats are very prone to a condition called feline urinary syndrome (FUS). This is a urinary bladder and urethral infection and inflammation which can lead to urinary tract obstruction in male cats. This is a serious condition and you should contact your vet straight away.
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My dog licks his feet all the time. Why?
A dog that licks his feet, rubs his face, or scratches behind his elbows may be showing signs of an allergy. Dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things such as house dust, grass or weeds and quite commonly fleas. Consult your vet about this, especially if your dog is showing any hair loss.
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What is a dog's or cat's normal temperature?
Cats and dogs have a higher body temperature than ours, which is why they sometimes feel "hot" to the touch. Their normal body temperature is 100 - 102.8 Fahrenheit or 38.5 + or . 0.5 degree Celcius. The best way to see if your pet is running a fever is to take his temperature with a rectal thermometer. If you notice that your pet's temperature is above normal, you should contact a vet.
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My dog has diarrhoea. What can I do?
If your dog is acting normally other than the diarrhoea, then you can try withholding all food for 12 hours. After that time you can offer small amounts of food. However, if your dog is lethargic in any way or the problem continues, you should call a vet for advice.
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My dog is "scooting" his behind on the carpet - Does he have worms?
He may have worms but that is not why he is "scooting". It is usually an indication that his anal glands are full and need veterinary attention. Anal glands are small glands on either side of the rectum. They contain a fishy smelling substance and before domestication dogs and cats used them to mark their territory. Pets do not have very active control of these glands and therefore they can become full and need emptying. Cats will generally lick their rectal area excessively if their anal sacs are full. If neglected overfull anal glands can becomes infected and form painful abscess needing antibiotic treatment.Cat food - Hills Prescription diets - Royal Canin
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What is the best food to feed my pet?
That is a difficult question to answer as one food isn't right for all pets. Generally, if the food you are feeding says on the label that it is good for "all life stages", then find another food. Puppies, adults, and seniors all have different nutritional requirements. The best quality foods such as Hills Science Plan and Royal Canin Veterinary Diets are usually very reliable.
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Is it normal for my cat to vomit hairballs?
No. Cats love to groom themselves and in doing so they swallow large amounts of hair. Vomiting hairballs is a sign that the hair is not moving from the stomach into the small intestine. There are pastes, Katalax, and food (Hills) that either dissolve hairballs or help them pass into the small intestine.
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My dog / cat smells. What could it be?
There are three main areas that are usually associated with a being smelly - ears, teeth, and skin. If your dog has any brownish material in her ears or is shaking her head she may have an ear infection. If she has tartar on her teeth or very red gums her teeth need attention. If her skin is dry or has bumps on it this may be the cause of the odour. Contact your vet if any of these conditions occur.
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My dog has been coughing for several days. What should I do?
A cough can be caused by a number of things, such as allergies, bronchitis, kennel cough, lung worms or even a heart condition. You need to get your vet check your dog to determine the cause of the problem.
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My dog (cat) has licked up some antifreeze. Will this hurt him?
Antifreeze is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats. It is vital to seek urgent veterinary attention.
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My cat / dog is over weight. What can I do?
You need to get him weighed properly to see how big the problem is. Your veterinary practice will usually do this for you free of charge. If you are having little success by reducing the daily amount of normal food then you will need a specifically designed low calorie food such as Hills RD which contains the correct proportions of the essential ingredients.
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My dog / cat has bad breath. What is the cause of this?
Some of the cheaper foods contain a lot of low grade ingredients which will cause bad breath. We advise that you purchase food produce by a reliable manufacturer such as Hills dog food, Hills cat food or Royal Canin cat or Royal Canin dog food. Dental problems are a main cause of bad breath. Inflamed or infected gums need veterinary advice to eliminate the possibility of ulcers or oral tumours. Tartre and gingivitis but can be helped by brushing using Logic Orozyme Gel, Orozyme Chews, Denta Rasks or of feeding a food such as Hills TD.
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My old dog / cat suffers from joint stiffness and struggles with day to day movement. What treatments are there to help?
If the problem is severe or started suddenly you need to seek veterinary advice. To slow down ageing deterioration the use of neutroceutical preparations such as Cosequin and specifically designed foods such as Hills JD are very beneficial. For more severe problems there are specific prescription medications such as Metacam and Rimadyl both of which require a prescription from your veterinary surgeon. We are able to supply all of these products at very competitive prices.
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