COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – an update for our clients.

Choosing cat holiday care in Dorset

After two years of summer ‘staycations’, this year we’re expecting a lot of people to be considering longer holidays away from home. For cat owners, this raises the age-old challenge of how to look after their cat during the holidays.

As you basically have three options – live-in care, day visits, or using a cattery – we thought we’d ask the nursing team at Walton Lodge Vets to offer a few tips on what to look out for, depending on the option you choose. If you’re opting for a cattery, and you don’t already know your cat’s vaccination status, call us to check.

Check your cat’s vaccinations

Whichever cat holiday care option you decide on, you should make arrangements early to give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect solution for your cat. Use our cat holiday checklists below to help with your research.

Cat sitting services in Poole

Daily visits can be made by a neighbour or professional pet sitter. Live-in care is similar, but your cat will benefit from company and can live almost as normal. Check with the sitter to ensure they offer:

  • Regular visits/interaction: Cats should be visited or played with at least twice daily so make sure this is agreed and your cat sitter is up for it
  • Meals: The volume and routine should ideally be the same as if you were at home
  • Water: Fresh water must always be available
  • Litter: Cat litter trays should be cleaned twice daily, especially during warm weather

Choosing a responsible cat sitter in Poole

You’ll feel much more reassured while you’re away if you know that someone with knowledge and experience is looking after your cat. Our vet nurse, Emma, says you should check:

  • References: If it isn’t someone you know, get contact details for some of their clients
  • Knowledge: Ask if they can spot signs of ill health and deal with specific issues
  • Skills: If your cat needs regular medication, ensure they can administer it
  • Quality time: The person should be happy to offer adequate companionship
  • Insurance: If your sitter is a professional, they should be insured, so check their docs

Catteries in Poole

If you’re going for the cattery option, then personal recommendation and a pre-stay visit to check the place out is a must. When you visit, talk to the staff and get a feel for how they will take care of your cat. They should be welcoming, ask plenty of questions about your cat, and allow you to have a good look around the cattery. When viewing the facilities, you should check:

  • The general cleanliness of the units, litter trays, and feeding bowls
  • Ask yourself if the cats look happy, content, and adequately stimulated
  • Check indoor and secure outdoor areas for your cat to exercise (if they need both)
  • Look for adequate ventilation and ensure the accommodation has a working smoke alarm
  • Check for any obvious escape routes and raise them with the staff

Finally, properly run and licensed catteries should insist on seeing an up-to-date vaccination card, showing recent vaccinations against cat flu and enteritis. If they do not, go somewhere else.

Check your cat’s vaccinations

Get Walton Lodge Vets’ dog-friendly holiday prep list

With summer just around the corner, you may be thinking about holiday plans. If you are taking your dog away with you, planning what they will need for the trip ahead of time will help to ensure your holiday is ‘smooth sailing’ or at the very least, you’ll be prepared for most eventualities. To help you, the dog-loving staff at Walton Lodge Vets have put together some advice for your dog-friendly summer holiday below.

If you need to update your dog’s vaccinations, flea & worm treatment, or anything else before your trip, book an appointment at our Poole vet practice.

Book a pre-holiday appointment

Taking your dog on holiday this summer

Taking your dog on holiday with you can be an exciting idea; not only do you get the enjoyment of bringing them along for the fun and not being apart from them, but your dog will get to experience lots of new sights and smells! To help you prepare for a happy and easy dog-friendly holiday, take a look at Walton Lodge Vets’ list below.

Dog-Friendly Holiday Prep List

Car travel

  • Safety – Use a harness, seatbelt, and car seat, or a crate; ensure you can take toilet breaks without leaving your dog in a parked car on hot days
  • Sickness – Get your dog used to car travel in advance; talk to us if they have severe travel sickness on 01202 747678
  • Comfort – Plan plenty of toilet & refreshment breaks for your dog along the way; travel early or late to avoid the heat wherever possible

Suitable living accommodation that allows pets

  • Safety – Will stairs or outdoor steps be a hazard? Is there an enclosed garden?
  • Comfort – Where will your dog sleep and go to the toilet (if there is no garden)?
  • Damage – Could your dog damage light-coloured furnishings?
  • Camping – Will your dog be safe in your tent with you at night?

Essentials – Take first aid kits, local Vet contact details for your destination, food supplies, bowls, bedding, any medication they are on including scheduled flea & worm treatments, doggy shampoo and towels, plenty of poop bags, lead & collar (with ID tag), and anything else your dog usually has.

Sun safety – Take pet sunscreen, make sure your daytime plans don’t put your dog in the hot sun for long periods; always take water on your trips out and provide shade.

Daily plans – Are there lots of dog-friendly places to go? Check local dog beach bans. It’s normally a ‘no-no’ to leave your dog unattended in holiday accommodation.

Parasite prevention – Up-to-date worming, flea, and tick control, and vaccinations

Overseas travel – Your dog will need an Animal Health Certificate, rabies vaccine (at least 21 days before travel), a health check by an Official Veterinarian (OV) qualified to certify pets ‘fit to fly’, and potentially other documents and treatments depending on your destination(s).

So, there you have it, Walton Lodge Vets’ comprehensive planning guide for a fun, safe, and easy dog-friendly holiday this summer. We hope you and your dog have a fantastic time away and our team look forward to hearing all about it at your next visit to our Poole veterinary practice.

Remember, if your dog needs anything before you go, or you just want them to have a health check to put your mind at rest, get in touch to book.

Book a pre-holiday appointment

How to safely transport guinea pigs

Guinea pigs, like all small furries, are not natural travellers. Taking them away from home can be stressful for everyone. So, if you need to get your guinea pig from A to B this summer, why not follow our Vet Kate’s advice on minimising stress and maximising the chances of a successful trip for you and your pets?

Kate’s Small Furry travel tick list:

  1. Get a suitable pet carrier

Your furry pal is going to need a place to rest, hide, and maybe even play. Get a highly rated pet carrier and make sure it’s big enough for them to move around in, but small enough so they don’t get thrown around. It’s got to be chew proof too.

     2. Get them used to it

Don’t wait until the day and just put them in and go. Your pets will be much less stressed if you get them used to their travel carrier by letting them play around in it for a week or two before you travel. You could also start with short journeys around the block to see how they handle it and if you need to make any changes to their setup.

     3. Plan ahead

Before you travel, have a think about the trip. Do you have enough food & water? Can you travel at a cooler/quieter time of day? How will you clean up any mess? Can you take a route that doesn’t have speed bumps or involve a fast road? Taking a few minutes to think these things through will make the trip less stressful.

     4. Stick together

If your pet has a pal, then make sure you take them both on the journey. They will naturally lend each other support.

     5. Taking your pet on public transport

If you’re planning on using public transport, first check their rules of carriage, then do a few practice-runs at quiet times. Finally, make sure you travel when it’s cool.

There you go, for the very few times you’ll be moving your guinea pig, you now have all the basic info you need to make the journey less stressful for everyone.

The advice above is good for most small furries. However, if you do feel like you need species specific advice, please call our team at Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery on 01202 747678 and we can talk through your pet’s specific needs.

Why all Dorset cats need a microchip in 2022

You have probably heard the old saying about cats and curiosity being a dangerous combination, so how do you give them any kind of safety net as they embark on a life of adventure? Identification, that’s how.

June is National Microchipping Month, so whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, read on to discover why all cats in Dorset need a microchip, by law, in 2022.

Book a cat microchip

Find your lost cat

While some cats probably shudder at the thought of leaving their favourite sofa, let alone the back garden, other cats can wander for miles. What all cats have in common though, is the ability to get picked up by a helpful passer-by or an animal warden for looking lost and taken to a veterinary practice or rescue centre.

Most cats don’t wear a collar and ID tag so without any form of identification, reuniting the two of you could be impossible. When the owner cannot be found, cats are typically put up for rehoming.

The team at Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery recommend cat microchipping as the best way of ensuring your feline friend can be quickly reunited with you. Contact us to book a cat microchip appointment.

New cat microchip law UK

‘Lost & found’ isn’t the only reason our Poole veterinary team recommend cat microchipping.

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has announced that cat microchipping will become compulsory in the UK in 2022 as part of a larger animal welfare action plan. The move is aimed at making more cats identifiable, in turn helping with issues such as cat thefts, strays, and deceased cats left by the road following traffic accidents.

This new law, which will carry a fine of £500 for non-compliance, is welcomed by many cat charities including Cats Matter and Cats Protection.

As part of the legislative changes, all cats over 20 weeks of age (unless there is an animal health or welfare reason certified by a Vet) must be microchipped by law. This coincides with the typical age kittens can be neutered from, so both procedures can be done by our team here at Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery before your kitten ventures outside. If your cat is already neutered, microchipping only takes a few minutes. Call us for more information on 01202 747678.

What does cat microchipping involve?

Microchips are tiny electronic devices, no bigger than a grain of rice, which are injected under the skin on the back of a cat’s neck. The procedure is quick and perfectly safe.

Your cat’s microchip carries your unique registration number, which links to a database where all your contact information is stored. One of our Poole veterinary surgeons or nurses, and staff at some animal shelters, can scan the microchip and access the database to get your details.

It is likely to also be an offence to not keep your contact details up to date on the database, as it is with dogs. And why wouldn’t you? Out of date contact details are no use to your cat!

Don’t delay, book your cat’s microchipping today

At Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery, we recommend that owners get ahead of this new law and get their cat microchipped as soon as possible. The unthinkable could happen today and a microchip could make all the difference in reuniting you with your cat.

Arrange your cat’s microchipping today

Does my dog need an ID tag AND a microchip?

If your dog has been microchipped, do they need to wear a collar and ID tag? If your dog always wears a collar and ID tag, do they need to be microchipped? Veterinary Surgeon Kate Morawska, is here to clear up any uncertainties on this topic.

Book a microchip appointment

The short answers are Yes and Yes, if you don’t want to risk being prosecuted and fined. But what are the other costs of non-compliance?

Why microchip dogs?

June is National Microchipping Month and the perfect time to remind dog owners about this topic. Since 2016, there has been a UK law on microchipping dogs from 8 weeks of age. This is typically done by the breeder, who must then update the microchip log with the new owner’s information.

A microchip might be tiny (about the same size as a grain of rice), but its purpose is mighty, explains Kate. If your dog should ever go missing and isn’t wearing their collar and tag, a microchip can make all the difference in reuniting you. Vet practices, dog wardens, and some animal rescue centres can use a microchip scanner to reveal the owner’s details. This is also really helpful when a stolen dog has their microchip routinely scanned.

For dogs picked up as strays or scanned by the dog warden for something else, owners have 21 days to get them microchipped before a criminal prosecution is actioned with a fine of up to £500.

It is also a legal requirement to keep your contact information up to date, and extremely helpful in reuniting you and your dog.

If for any reason your dog has not been microchipped, or you just want to have their microchip scanned and the details checked, contact our North Road team on 01202 747678 who will be happy to help.

Dog ID tags UK law

According to the Control of Dogs Order 1992, all dogs must wear a collar and ID tag when out in public, which must detail their owner’s name and address. This dog ID tags UK law applies whether your dog is on a lead or not. Contravention of this order is an offence and risks a fine of up to £2000.

If your dog is involved in an altercation, an accident, or runs off, a dog ID tag is the quickest way for someone to contact you about your dog.

Dog ID tags can be quite small, especially if you have a small dog. Kate advises that phone numbers can be helpful on there too and recommends having your own version of this engraved:

SMITH, 10,

EXAMPLE DRIVE

WV11 8HG

07770 123456

A phone number can be very useful on a dog tag – and don’t forget, the tag has two sides that can normally be engraved.

On the topic of dog thefts, which have risen significantly since the first COVID lockdown, some of Walton Lodge Vets’ clients have told us their top tips for dog ID tags:

  1. Don’t have your dog’s name engraved on their ID tag – this will and give thieves a head start
  2. Include CHIPPED & NEUTERED on the tag if it will fit as this may put thieves off – many dogs are stolen for breeding

So, why not put microchipping and ID tag at the top of your to-do-list, and give your dog the best chance of a swift reunion with you whilst staying on the right side of the law?

Contact us about dog microchipping

A rabbit microchip? Poole Vets have this advice

You are probably familiar with dogs and cats being microchipped, but what about rabbits? With it being National Microchipping Month in June, our Poole veterinary team are here to tell you everything you need to know about microchipping rabbits.

Contact us about rabbit microchipping

Is your rabbit secure in your home and garden? You would hope so, but rabbits are inquisitive creatures and their curiosity can get them into trouble.

What would you do if your rabbit got lost? Rabbits do not typically wear a collar & ID tag so with no identification, anyone finding your pet would not know who or where to return them to. This is why microchipping rabbits is a good idea.

What is rabbit microchipping?

Microchips are tiny electronic devices that contain all the data needed to trace you if someone finds your lost pet. A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice. It is implanted just under the skin (usually between the shoulder blades) via an injection. Microchips are designed to last for life and should cause no bother to your pet. If an animal is deemed large enough, our team at Walton Lodge Vets can microchip them – ask us about microchipping your rabbit.

How is microchipping helpful?

A microchip stores a unique code, which is matched to the owner’s details on a central online database. Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery and other veterinary practices, as well as some animal rescue centres, have special microchip scanners to reveal the code. If you do not keep  our contact details up to date on the central database, it may not be possible to reunite you with your rabbit.

Benefits of rabbit microchipping

Microchipping is currently the most effective way to reunite pets with their owners if they are brought into a vet practice or animal shelter without an ID tag – this could be due to a successful escape attempt or if a stolen pet is recovered. With no way to identify the owner,  pets are typically put up for rehoming. Pet theft isn’t just a dog and cat owner issue. Since the start of COVID, pet thefts across a variety of species have  risen. In 2021, Darius – the world’s largest rabbit – was stolen from his garden hutch in Worcestershire. Read the BBC news story about Darius here.

The Government Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a Pet Theft Taskforce policy paper in September last year, which outlined measures being taken to tackle the rising number of pet thefts. One of the proposed measures is to have vet  practices scan all new pets at their first appointment.  You can read the full DEFRA report here.

The bottom line is, without any form of identification, pets have little to no chance of being reunited with their owners should the worst happen. Rabbit microchipping is a low-cost, simple way to give your pet rabbit a traceable form of identification and give you peace of mind.

Get your rabbit microchipped

Life-threatening guinea pig health problems & advice

Like any pet, guinea pigs can have health problems that require urgent veterinary attention. As part of National Pet Month, which promotes responsible pet ownership, the clinical team at Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery have put together a list of emergency conditions and lifesaving advice for guinea pig owners.

This is not a comprehensive list; it is better to err on the side of caution and phone our Poole veterinary surgery for advice if you notice anything of concern with your guinea pig. Any non-descript symptoms such as lethargy, depression, and a decrease in appetite should always be acted on.

Call us if you need us on 01202 747678.

See our location & contact information

Life-threatening guinea pig health problems

Gut Stasis

Gut stasis in guinea pigs is a very serious, life-threatening condition caused by other stressful or painful conditions. Common factors include a sudden change in diet or a lack of fibre, an obstruction in the gut, dental disease, traumatic injury, dehydration, boredom, or loneliness. The gut comes to a standstill and the normal passage of food through the gut does not occur.

Symptoms of gut statis include not eating, passing less or no droppings, a bloated or painful abdomen and not wanting to move. This list is not exhaustive, so you should phone our veterinary surgery straight away if you have any concerns on 01202 747678. Treatment can include medication to help the gut to move again (unless there is an obstruction in the gut), often pain relief too, alongside fluid therapy and syringe feeding. While this can help to get the gut moving again, any underlying health problems that contributed to the gut stasis will need to be addressed.

Respiratory problems

If you notice your guinea pig has breathing problems, you should phone our Poole surgery immediately. They might be breathing more quickly or more laboriously than usual, possibly alongside a discharge from their nose, sneezing, a loss of appetite, and lethargy (amongst other symptoms). Our Vets will carry out a clinical examination and may do further diagnostic tests. There are several things that can cause respiratory problems in guinea pigs including pneumonia, which can be fatal, so early diagnosis and treatment are vital.

Trauma

Like any pet, guinea pigs can suffer from injuries due to trauma. The cause of trauma can be unknown, or due to falling, being dropped by accident when handled, fighting with other guinea pigs, or attacks from larger pets. If you witness any trauma occurring, or you see any signs of injury such as wounds or lameness, you will need prompt guinea pig health care from our Vets – contact us.

Birth

If you have a female guinea pig that you know to be pregnant, or think may be pregnant, it is advisable to monitor her carefully throughout the pregnancy – especially when she is close to giving birth. This is particularly true if she is over seven months of age and has not given birth previously; her pubic symphysis will have fused and so the birth canal will be too narrow for a natural birth. Therefore, a C-section will be needed to ensure the safety of your guinea pig and her pups. There are other potential complications with giving birth so it would be prudent to have a conversation with one of our Vets in advance about what to look out for.

As we mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of guinea pig health problems and like any pet, acute illnesses can occur at any time – poisoning from plants or food is definitely one to watch out for. The best advice that Walton Lodge Vets’ clinical team can give guinea pig owners, is to stay vigilant and if you notice anything unusual or concerning, call us.

Call us on 01202 747678.

Kate Morawska shares tips for emergency cat health problems

Cats are very inquisitive creatures and often get themselves into trouble as a result. Head Vet Kate Morawska and the team at Walton Lodge Vets know this only too well having seen many cat emergencies over the years.

It is always better to be prepared for cat emergencies – pop our number in your phone if you don’t have it already. You may want to give it to your neighbours, family, friends, and your holiday cat sitter too if you have one.

Here’s our number: 01202 747678

See all our contact information

Dealing with Common Cat Emergencies

According to Kate, some of the most common cat emergencies include:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Wounds / bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Poisoning
  • Seizures
  • Heatstroke
  • Stings

Below is some more information on each cat health problem and what you need to do in the event of an accident.

Cats and road traffic accidents

With many cats spending lots of time outdoors in Dorset, road traffic accidents are always a possibility. Injuries can range from a gentle knock that gives the cat a mild concussion, to more severe broken bones, wounds, or impact to their organs. It is important to ensure that you follow DR ABC’S advice:

  • Danger – keep safe from the environment or your pet; a scared dog or any other animal may lash out
  • Response – check if your dog is responsive by calling their name
  • Airway – is their airway clear?
  • Breathing – are they breathing?
  • Circulation – do they have a pulse or heartbeat?
  • Send – send someone to go and find help

If there is an obvious bleed, you can use clean material and pressure to slow blood loss – read more about this below. Never try to ‘set’ or straighten a broken bone yourself. It is important that any cat suspected of being hit by a vehicle is checked over by a Vet to ensure there is no internal damage or risk of shock from the trauma. Call Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery on 01202 747678.

Blood loss

Wounds or any bleeds should be treated as a first-aid measure to reduce the amount of blood loss. If they are bleeding use a wound pad, a clean towel, or bandaging to press on the wound to help reduce the amount of blood loss and get them to a Vet straight away. Contact your Vet first to let them prepare for your cat’s arrival and injury needs.

Burns

Burns often occur when cats jump onto hot cooking surfaces; they can also come from freshly tarred roads, surfaces treated with bleach or other chemicals, electrical sources, or being scalded by hot liquids. If your cat has a burn (not chemical), run cold water over it for a minimum of 5 minutes before getting them to the Vet – try placing a damp cloth over the burn and adding cold water, or immersing the burned area in cold water – be careful as most cats don’t like water. Do not apply any creams to the burn and ensure your cat is kept warm and calm to avoid shock. For chemical burns, wear gloves, goggles, and other safety gear and contact our Vets for first aid advice.

Cat poisoning

There are many different poisons that can harm cats with some of the most common being antifreeze, rat poison, paracetamol, and lily plants. If your cat has potentially been poisoned move the item away from them immediately. Always call your Vet straight away and be ready to take your cat there quickly so that treatment can commence without haste. Do not try to make your cat sick as this can make things worse. If they have rolled in something such as oil or have lily pollen on their fur, put a buster collar or shirt over them so that they can’t lick and ingest the poison and try to wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Seizures

Cats can have seizures for many different reasons. If you ever see your cat having a seizure do not pick them up or put anything over the top of them. Turn off any stimulants such as TVs or Radios. Make the room dark and remove anything they may hurt themselves on. Time the seizure and contact our Veterinary team.

Heatstroke and your cat

Heatstroke is common in the summer months, particularly if your cat has managed to become trapped somewhere it is very hot, like a shed or greenhouse. If they are exposed to intense prolonged heat use tepid running water to help cool them down. Do not put any damp towels over them, keep them in a cool area, ensure they have access to plenty of water, and phone the Vet – 01202 747678.

Treating insect stings

Again, because of cats’ inquisitive nature, they often end up getting stung. If this has happened, pull (or scrape using a credit card) the sting out and apply either bicarbonate of soda to a bee sting or diluted vinegar to a wasp sting. The area may be very swollen and inflamed so apply an ice pack. If the sting is anywhere near your cat’s eyes, mouth, or throat contact our Vets as any swelling here could potentially close airways.

You will never stop cats from being adventurous and unfortunately, having accidents. Our Vet Kate recommends the best thing you can do is to be prepared – know how to apply basic first aid techniques as described above and always have our number to hand.

Call us in an emergency on 01202 747678.

Why all dog owners in Dorset need a pet first aid kit

Preparation can mean the difference between life and death in first aid scenarios, according to our Vet, Kate Morawska. This is why the team at Walton Lodge Veterinary Surgery are recommending that all dog owners in Dorset get themselves a pet first aid kit.

First though, check out our First Aid Tips for Dog Adventures – a guide to recognising conditions that need first aid and immediate veterinary care. Download it via the button below and save it on your phone. You could share it with friends & family by email or on Facebook too.

Download our Dog First Aid Guide

Whilst as owners we should aim to get our pet veterinary care as quickly as possible in an emergency, there are often scenarios where this is problematic. Imagine that your location or circumstances prevent you from getting to the clinic quickly, or your dog’s injury is life threatening and needs an interim measure to protect them before they can travel.

Kate advises that having a pet first aid kit to hand is crucial in being able to offer vital support when it is needed most. It also gives you piece of mind that you have the tools available to help your pet in the first instance.

Pet first aid supplies – what should your kit contain?

There are many different types of pet first aid kits. How comprehensive yours need to be will depend on what you are doing or where you are. If you are fairly local, you may carry a smaller kit compared to being on a holiday away from local amenities.

Useful pet first aid supplies include:

1.Bandages – different types (first aid courses can teach how to bandage properly)

2.Blunt-ended scissors

3.Wound wash – saline preferable

4.Cotton wool

5.Tweezers

6.Tick removal tools

7.Wound dressing

8.Self-adhesive tape

9.Vinyl gloves / alcohol gel for sanitising hands

10.Foil blanket

11.Thermometer

12.Antiseptic wipes

13.A blanket to use as a stretcher

14.Any medication your pet receives

15.Details for your local Vets – here are ours

16.Details for local vets for the area you are visiting

Having this equipment to hand means you are well prepared for the most common emergencies – download our dog first aid tips to learn what these might be.

Why some of the above items are so important

Kate explains that different types of bandages can help to stop bleeds, slow down blood loss, or protect a wound whilst transporting your pet. Tweezers can help you remove thorns or stings; never remove any big items that could be going through an artery, and use a special tick removal tool for dog ticks. Gloves and alcohol gel will help to ensure you are clean when cleaning wounds with the saline.

When it comes to blankets, Kate shares why you need two types in your pet first aid kit. Foil blankets are useful for helping to keep your pet warm and preventing shock after a trauma. Using a blanket as a stretcher is also very important for any injuries to the spine or limbs. If you can carry your pet on a stretcher, they will be more supported and comfortable then carrying them in your arms.

Keeping details of both your Vet practice and a local Vet if you adventuring far from home, will mean you are not frantically searching for the details of an emergency Vet.

Learn your DR ABCS

Whenever faced with an emergency always remember DR ABCS:

·Danger – keep safe from the environment or your pet; a scared dog or any other animal may lash out

·Response – check if your dog is responsive by calling their name

·Airway – is their airway clear?

·Breathing – are they breathing?

·Circulation – do they have a pulse or heartbeat?

·Send – send someone to go and find help

Always ensure wherever you go, no matter how close to home you are, that you carry your pet first aid kit. Also, remember to replace items you have used – there is nothing worse than needing something in an emergency and it not being in your kit!

Kate’s final piece of advice for dog owners in Dorset, is to learn how to recognise common dog health emergencies – download & share our helpful guide below.

Download our Dog First Aid Guide

16 ways to pet-proof your garden this spring

Spring is the ideal time to spruce up your garden after a gloomy winter. It is also your chance to garden with your pets in mind, so you can have a pet-friendly space all year round.

The team at Walton Lodge Vets have collated some important ideas below to help Dorset pet owners make their garden a safe space for their four-legged friends. With our no-fuss guide, you can pet-proof your garden and keep your dogs, cats, or rabbits happy and healthy all year long.

Plants are an integral part of many gardens but some can be harmful, even deadly. Our Poole Vets have also put together this helpful guide to highlight the signs to look out for, what to do if you suspect poisoning, and common toxic plants. You can download our guide here:

Get our Poisonous Plants guide

Pet-proofing your garden is mostly about making it safe for exploration. Look at your garden as a whole and imagine your pet exploring it. Remember, animals are curious and mostly led by smell, so if your dog, cat, or rabbit can physically reach somewhere, it is not ‘off limits’ to them.

Below is a comprehensive list of ways to make your garden safe. Adopting these strategies to pet-proof your garden now will make life easier later and ensure your pets have a safe outdoor space to enjoy all year long.

How to pet proof your garden

Walton Lodge Vets’ team suggests your to-do-list should include:

  1. Pet proof your garden fence and fix any gaps in boundaries where your pet could escape through.
  2. Get rid of broken bottles, sharp stones, and other obvious hazards.
  3. Tidy away tools and anything you do not want your pet ‘playing’ with or nibbling.
  4. Relocate or reorganise piles of bricks or wood so they can’t topple over.
  5. Make places your pet could get trapped inside or under inaccessible and close shed doors.
  6. Fence off areas your pet could fall from and any bodies of water.
  7. Put harmful substances on high shelves and behind cupboard doors.
  8. Choose pet-safe plants and remove toxic plants for pets – remember that parts of plants can be spread throughout your garden by wildlife and wind.
  9. Remove/relocate bulbs that could harm pets – cover soil in netting so pets can’t dig them up.
  10. Grow vegetables in raised beds – put netting over to keep out curious paws and noses.
  11. Only use pet-safe products to repel insects, slugs, and snails.
  12. Don’t leave pet bowls and toys out overnight – slugs/snails can cause lungworm in dogs.
  13. Lawns: beware as grass seeds can get lodged in eyes and cut grass is toxic when eaten.
  14. Clean up any animal faeces (not just your pet’s) to avoid your pet eating it and becoming unwell or potentially contracting worms.
  15. Remember that wildlife frequents your garden too and may drop food that contains bones, raw meat, raisons, or other toxic ingredients – check your garden before letting your pet out.
  16. And finally, monitor your pet’s time outside. Head Vet Kate Morawska cannot stress this enough – accidents and escape attempts can happen fast.

If you have followed this list, your garden should be a safe and happy place for your pet to hang out in. You could go a step further by creating dedicated areas in your garden for digging, playing, relaxing, and toileting of course, maybe even connected by a pet-friendly garden path. This creates a harmonious outdoor space that works for you and your pets.

Remember to download our Pet Plant Poisons Guide below. Also, why not share our article on pet-proofing your garden with your pet-loving friends and family on Facebook or email?

Download our Poisons Guide

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