Why do dogs eat grass? It’s a question we’re often asked at Vets4Pets Cleveleys
Vets still don’t really know exactly why dogs eat grass. Even with all the advances in modern veterinary treatment it seems that the answer isn’t forthcoming. There are a good few theories, which are all equally well founded. We thought you might be interested in some of the possible reasons why –
- Most dogs and cats seem to eat some grass at some time in their lives. It’s thought that it might be a trait that’s been inherited from their wild ancestors of the dim and distant past.
- You might have noticed that your pet eats grass and then vomits it back up. Another theory is that they eat grass when they feel nauseous because they know it will make them sick. If they do this very often it might be that they have an underlying problem and be producing an excess of stomach acid. In which case you should take them to see the vet because cats and dogs can also take the same types of acid blockers as us, like Pepcid. (Please don’t give them off the shelf medications, they need a different dose).
- Other ideas for why cats and dogs develop this habit range from boredom to dietary deficiencies. For your pet it might just be that they just like to graze!
WARNING: In most cases your pet will have a nibble at the lawn and then move on. However, if your furbaby eats a LOT of grass it could be the sign of a compulsive disorder or something else entirely. Eating too much grass can be disastrous as their digestive system isn’t built to digest it. It can result in an intestinal blockage and bloat and lead to a serious emergency.
Mostly it’s fine to leave your dog or cat to enjoy the occasional snack of grass. Just one final word of advice – make sure the lawn hasn’t recently been treated with chemicals, and there aren’t any toxic plants in your borders.
If you’re in any doubt at all and want any advice, we’ll be more than pleased to help out here at Vets4Pets Cleveleys. (Please mention that you saw us on Visit Fylde Coast!)
Found a Baby Bird?
Here’s some advice from RSPCA about what to do if you find a baby bird out of the nest. Most of the time fledglings will be found and cared for by their parents, so follow this advice…
Dogs Die in Hot Cars – advice from Vets4Pets Cleveleys
As the weather starts warming up, remember that Dogs Die in Hot Cars – advice from Vets4Pets Cleveleys about what to do if you see a pet locked up. When it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C/117°F within 60 minutes. And don’t forget that dogs all wear fur coats too…
Dogs pant to keep cool. In hot stuffy cars dogs can’t cool down – leaving a window open or a sunshield on windscreens won’t keep your car cool enough.
We’ve shared this advice from the RSPCA website to help you to know what to do if you see a dog left alone in a parked car, and how to look after your own pet on hot days or if they overheat.
If you see a dog in a car on a warm day
Don’t be afraid to call the Police on 999. If the RSPCA need to force entry they’ll need the police to be there anyway.
Help a dog in a hot car
- Establish the animal’s health and condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke – dial 999 immediately.
- If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
- Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow our emergency first aid advice. This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog.
If the dog isn’t displaying symptoms of heatstroke
- Establish how long the dog has been in the car. A ‘pay and display’ ticket could help.
- Make a note of the car’s registration. If the owner returns, but you still feel the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.
- If you’re at a shop, venue or event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.
- If possible, get someone to stay with the dog to monitor their condition. If they begin to display signs of distress or heatstroke, be prepared to dial 999.
- You can also call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line for advice on 0300 1234 999. However, if the dog’s in danger, dialing 999 should always be the first step.
Heat stroke – early warning signs Heat stroke can be fatal. Some dogs are more prone than others:
- dogs with short snouts
- fatter/muscly dogs
- long-haired breeds
- old/young dogs
- dogs with certain diseases/on certain medication
Symptoms of heatstroke include:
- heavy panting
- profuse salivation
- rapid pulse
- very red gums/tongue
- lack of coordination
- reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing
- loss of consciousness.
First aid for dogs suffering from heatstroke:
Act quickly, heatstroke can be fatal! If dogs show any signs of heatstroke, move them to a shaded, cool area. Ring your vet immediately.
- Urgently, gradually lower their body temperature.
- Immediately douse them with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock – you could use a shower, or spray and place them in the breeze of a fan.
- Let them drink small amounts of cool water.
- Continue dousing until their breathing settles – never cool dogs so much that they begin shivering.
- Once your dog is cool, immediately go to the vet.
Warm weather tips
- Your dog must always be able to move into a cooler, ventilated environment.
- Never leave dogs alone in cars, glass conservatories or caravans even if it’s cloudy.
- If you do leave dogs outside, you must provide a cool shady spot where they can escape from the sun.
- Always provide good supplies of drinking water, in a weighted bowl that can’t be knocked over. Carry water with you on hot days.
- Groom dogs regularly to get rid of excess hair. Give long-coated breeds a haircut at the start of summer.
- Never allow dogs to exercise excessively in hot weather.
- Dogs can also get sunburned – particularly those with light-coloured noses/fur on their ears. Ask your vet for advice on pet-safe sunscreen.
Watch out for Fleas!
Fleas are one of the more unpleasant aspects of owning a household pet, so look out for that unpleasant house guest!
There are different species to fleas for different animals – dog fleas, cat fleas, and if you are lucky enough to have them visiting your garden, hedgehog fleas (and no, all hedgehogs aren’t infested in them!) Many fleas found on dogs are actually cat fleas.
It’s not unusual for your pet to carry a visitor into the house, even if they’re not actually infected and running with them – but if you do see even one flea make sure that all his brothers and sisters aren’t hiding elsewhere on your pet or in their bedding!
As an owner you can spot a flea from an ordinary midge – fleas have a hard outer shell which you have to crack between your nails to kill them (rather than being easily squashed flat) and they tend to jump – quite a long way! You might see one jump off your pet – or you might spot their droppings on your pets skin under the fur – it looks like tiny black drops of soot.
The life cycle of a flea is about 2-3 weeks – it speeds up when the weather gets warmer – and although they can live without food for several months the females must have a meal of blood before they can lay their approx 4000 eggs. So you can see why one flea on your dog is one flea too many!
Flea infestations aren’t only revolting, and annoying, but they can be dangerous – leading to skin infections and problems with itching, and anaemia from blood loss in extreme, untreated circumstances. They can also carry tapeworms and other parasites and diseases.
- Be vigilant and keep an eye out for fleas and droppings on pets and their bedding.
- Use a preventative treatment – often applied once a month to your pet – these are available from your vets, along with advice about their use.
- If you do get fleas this summer
– bath the pet in a flea shampoo,
– wash all their bedding in the washing machine,
– spray flea spray on hard surfaces like pet beds and carpets that can’t be washed,
– vacuum thoroughly and regularly (emptying the vacuum afterwards into the dustbin).
You might need to repeat the process at weekly intervals, depending on how quickly you caught it.
If you’re in any doubt at all and need any advice, please consult us here at Vets4Pets Cleveleys
No Chocolate for Fido!
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got Easter eggs lying around, it’s Christmas or you just love a bar of Dairy Milk – there should be no chocolate for Fido!
We thought we’d remind you, with some advice from Vets4Pets Cleveleys, that much as we all love our dogs and treat them like one of the family, treating them with chocolate could kill them with kindness.
The hazard depends on the type of chocolate, how much the dog eats, and the size of the dog – so an easy rule of thumb is NEVER to give them any and keep on the safe side.
Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (a bit like caffeine) and dark chocolate contains more of it.
Much like when you’ve had a strong black coffee, the theobromine affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys – you’ll see symptoms from 4-24 hours after your dog has eaten the chocolate. The symptoms will vary depending on the type of chocolate, how big the dog is, and how much they have eaten relative to their size.
What should you do if your dog eats chocolate?
If you think that your dog has eaten too much chocolate see veterinary help immediately.
There isn’t an antidote to theobromine – treatment will include making your dog vomit, possibly washing out the stomach and treating with activated charcoal to absorb anything left in the intestines. Depending on the symptoms your dog may need a drip, treatment to control their heart rate and blood pressure etc.
With quick treatment most dogs which have been poisoned in this way will be OK.
Better to be Safe than Sorry
It’s so easy to switch off and put things down and forget that your four legged friend will pick them up, and food is no exception. While snaffling a misplaced slice of toast might ruin your own supper, being careless with an Easter egg might have dire consequences.
So always make sure that you have placed chocolate out of reach, especially before leaving the room or going out, as this is when your best friend is likely to get up to mischief. Always better to be safe than sorry.
If you do have a mishap and your dog eats too much chocolate or you are in doubt, seek veterinary advice immediately.
Awards and Nominations for Vets4Pets Cleveleys
It’s been a good start to the year for awards and nominations for Cleveleys Vets4Pets. We’ve been awarded with recognition for our outstanding customer service by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Many thanks to all of our lovely customers who have taken the time to nominate members of staff for the annual PetPlan Veterinary Awards
Did you know – about Pets in Cars?
Did you know that driving a car with an unrestrained pet could get you an on the spot fine of £100?
It may also invalidate your insurance if you are involved in an accident.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code reads, “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.
“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.
So if you’re making a journey to see Aunty Flo this Christmas, make sure Fido has got a seat belt or carrier.
Client Loyalty Scheme – get 5% off
Martin and Simon from Vets4Pets Cleveleys are delighted to announce a new client loyalty discount scheme to celebrate 5 years of Cleveleys Vet4pets.
Pets who have been registered with the Practice for 5 years (“Qualifying Pets”) will be entitled to a 5% discount on all consultations, treatments and medications (“5% Discount”).
Resuscitation for Pets
Vets4Pets Cleveleys have donated vital resuscitation equipment to our local fire brigade, providing help when our pets need it.
A new pet resuscitation kit has been donated to Bispham fire engine by Vets4Pets on Victoria Road in Cleveleys. This means that all but one of the fire stations across the Fylde Coast are now equipped to help pets in need of oxygen. St Annes is now the only station without one, but they are working to get one.
The kit includes three oxygen masks to fit all sizes of animal from large to small. When animals are caught in house fires they are poisoned by the smoke just like people are, so administering oxygen helps to counteract it.
Almost half of households include pets of some kind, and as animals tend to suffer from smoke inhalation more quickly than people do, this is vital equipment.
Seasonal Advice: Fireworks and Your Pet
Different pets react quite differently to the bangs and bumps when fireworks are set off. Here are some tips to keep them calm.
Did you know that 57% of animals suffer from ‘Fireworks Phobia’ and a whopping 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear loud noises, so with Bonfire Night coming soon, here is some advice to keep your pet calm.
The disturbance from fireworks isn’t quite as bad now as it was in the past, since the laws surrounding the sale of fireworks have been tightened up. But the few days over the season starting with Diwali in late October and going on through Fireworks night and beyone can be terrifying for pets who are affected.
Household pets like cats and dogs can react quite differently to the noise from fireworks – some are oblivious and some go hysterical – it all depends on the individual. You know your pet, so here are some ideas to help if your pet really doesn’t like loud bangs:
- Provide a safe place for your pet to go to. If they usually run for cover when they are frightened, put a sheet over a table and make them somewhere dark and safe to hide where they can’t see the flashes, you’ll know what your pet likes best. Give him a treat or a toy while he’s in there.
- Put your dog out early to do its business and avoid taking it out for a walk. Make sure your cat is in for the night – provide a litter tray.
- Make the house comfortable – Close the curtains early, put the TV or radio on to drown out the noise of bangers and be calm around your pets so they don’t pick up the stress from you.
It’s best not to make too much fuss and get too wound up yourself about how they will react because that will reward their anxious behaviour and could confuse them and make them worse. Whatever you do don’t be cross – they can’t help being frightened. Just keep calm but keep reassuring them if they come to you for comfort.
- Don’t leave them – if your dog panics, don’t go out and leave them at home alone on Bonfire Night.
- De-sensitisation cds can be played quietly in advance of firework night, starting at a low volume and the sound increased until the pet gets used to it. It will need to be built up over a period of some weeks. You can actually buy cds of firework noises to practice with.
- Pheromone diffusers and sprays emit the scents that make your cat or dog feel secure, and can take several weeks to work. Used on bonfire night they respond to the pheromone rather than the noise.
- Seek the advice of your vet. It’s generally a good place to start for the worst cases, as some of the more effective solutions are only available from your vet, and need to be started in advance.
- Severe cases might need medication from the vet to calm them down.
Don’t forget small outdoor pets like rabbits and guinea pigs – they can be upset at bonfire night too. Try to move their hutch somewhere quieter like into a garage or shed or cover it with carpet or a blanket to muffle bangs and flashes. Don’t suffocate them though.
Equally, horses can be frightened and are best kept stabled when fireworks are around. You’ll know how they react and whether they like a radio on for company, or whether they will tolerate damp cotton wool ear plugs, or whether plenty of hay to eat keeps their mind off it.
If in doubt and fireworks are a trauma for you and your pet, seek the advice of your vet.
Do you brush your dogs teeth?
If so how often do you do it?
It’s thought that less than a third of dog owners brush their dog’s teeth and yet this one thing can significantly improve most dogs long term well being.
Ideally you should do this everyday, using a finger brush or a dog toothbrush. Dog toothpaste is available – don’t use human toothpaste as this contains fluoride.
As a guide, begin by getting your dog used to having your fingers around its mouth by gently pulling gums back and massaging them
Then use a finger brush to get your dog used to having something touching its teeth and gums.
If you are just starting out on brushing your dogs teeth and want more advice then why not make an appointment with one of our nurses here at Cleveleys Vets4Pets who will be able to guide you through the process.
These visits are a complimentary part of the service we offer to all our clients.
Beware when Buying Pets Online
We all love a puppy or kitten, and the sight of those pretty big eyes can melt even the hardest of hearts. But don’t let your heart rule your common sense when you see that pretty face – or it could spell a whole boat load of heartache.
The internet is increasingly intertwined in all of our lives and it’s perfectly plausible that you might initially find your ideal pet on Facebook or some other website.
However, please keep the internet as nothing more than an introduction to your new furbaby and keep hold of your common sense before you hand over your money. At Vets 4 Pets Cleveleys, just like any other vet would, we would always advise you to visit a breeders premises to see the puppy or kitten, and ideally see the parents too. Or visit a rescue centre and consider adopting one of the many thousands of unwanted animals who need your care.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. On agreeing a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet doesn’t materialise but you’ll be asked for further advance payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely that the pet does not exist.
– Stay within auction guidelines.
– Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
– Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online.
– Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
– Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist.
– A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary.
– If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed.
– Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding.
– When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders
If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
Events at Vets 4 Pets Cleveleys
Here at Vets 4 Pets Cleveleys we hold events throughout the year – clients and non-clients are welcome to attend.
Just keep an eye on the Cleveleys Vets4Pets Facebook page for details
There’s a Puppy Party on the first Wednesday of each month at Vets4Pets Cleveleys. If you have a new fur-baby and you’d like to socialise them with other puppies, learn tips for looking after them, and meet other puppy-parents, come along and join in the fun! Just ring 01253 858665 for details (and please mention that you saw it here!)
Some of these events are to educate and inform you about animals and their care, some are just for fun! We are a welcoming and friendly practice and we want people and their pets to feel comfortable when they come to see us – so the more often you call in, the better!
Seasonal Advice: Beware the Dangers of Antifreeze
We’ve enjoyed an extended spell of unseasonal warm weather which lasted well into winter but with cold nights – and the possibility of temperatures falling to below freezing – people are beginning to get ready by topping radiators and cars up with anti freeze.
Antifreeze might be a wonderful modern chemical that saves you from burst pipes and all kinds of problems – but it is extremely toxic to cats and wildlife alike – a 6ml teaspoonful is a lethal dose for a cat.
Cats love to drink out of puddles and like the sweet taste of the anti freeze.
Even if you are not a cat owner please do your bit and store your anti freeze in a safe place and clean up any spills.
Please share and hopefully we can help to reduce the number of cats killed each year from ethylene glycol poisoning.
The same is also true of hedgehogs and other wildlife – and of course dogs. Be safe rather than sorry x
Wildlife Advice: Hedgehogs
In the spring and summer, like most wild animals, hedgehogs are busy rearing their babies. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of year when we are likely to come across them or their babies, maybe in garden accidents or misadventures. If you see a hedgehog out in the daytime, sat sunbathing on your lawn or similar, then there is something wrong with it and you need to get it to a vet or wildlife rescue asap.
Some hedgehog information:
Photo from BBC
- Clear your garden of litter and keep your empty tin cans and recycling out of harms reach. Litter kills an astonishing amount of wildlife each year and it’s needless. Hedgehogs will try to lick food out of empty pet food tins etc and in turn can get stuck like this poor chap.
- Slug pellets are poisonous – not just to hedgehogs – and shouldn’t be used.
- Garden ponds can be lethal to small mammals and if you’ve got one you should make sure that there are sloping slipways around the edge that hedgehogs and other small animals can climb out on. Or hang chicken wire over the edge into the water that can be used like an escape net.
- Be careful with strimmers and lawn mowers in areas of long, undisturbed grass. It’s quite possible to inflict nasty injuries on juveniles and baby hedgehogs with garden machinery.
- Hedgehogs can cover a surprising area of ground looking for food. Make sure there are gaps at the bottom of your garden fence to allow them to safely travel between gardens.
- They are omnivorous and eat insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grassroots, berries.
- Like us, they like ‘junk food’ but it’s not good for them. They need a balanced, nutritious diet. Good quality cat biscuits are more than sufficient and keep their teeth clean.
- DON’T give them milk to drink! Just water!
- If they get fleas they are host specific and apart from an odd one which might visit your pet, they won’t infest your cat or dog.
- Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger species of hedgehogs live 4–7 years in the wild (some have been recorded up to 16 years), and smaller species live 2–4 years (4–7 in captivity). By comparison a mouse lives about 2 years and a rat 3–5 years.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal. This means they come out at night. They do not lie in the middle of your lawn sunbathing. They do not sleep out in the open and they don’t go for a nice wander round in the sunshine to get warm. Any hog seen under these circumstances is ill and needs to be seen by a rescue ASAP.
Find out more about hedgehogs from St Tiggywinkles, the wildlife hospital
Hedgehogs and Bonfires
If you’re planning on having a bonfire this year PLEASE make sure that you don’t burn any wildlife and in particular hedgehogs.
It’s best to store wood in a separate place to where you will burn it, but if you can’t do that please lift the pile with broom handles and shine a torch underneath – looking and listening carefully before lighting the fire.
Seasonal Advice: Christmas Cautions for your Pet
If your cat, dog or other animal eats the wrong thing this festive season it will spoil it for all of you!
What is perfectly safe for us to eat might be lethal to your family pet – so our friends at Vets4Pets at Cleveleys have provided you with some sensible advice.
Christmas is a great time of year and should be fun for all the family, dogs included. Many of us are already aware of some of the potential toxic substances our dogs can come across and take steps to avoid them.
However, the festive period is one where we often introduce all manner of exciting items into the house that we don’t normally have. Some of these things can be potentially harmful to our pooches, cats and birds and it’s worth knowing some of the common pitfalls.
Things to be cautious with and avoid your dog eating include:
Currants and sultanas
Christmas fairy lights – particularly watch for animals chewing through cables
It goes without saying, if in doubt contact your vet straight away and they will be able to advise you. The faster that you can get help the more successful it usually is.
Editors Note: Many years ago we had a lovely Cavalier King Charles called Toby. Like all dogs, Toby’s eyes were bigger than his stomach. My dad, while clearing away the Christmas Dinner and washing up had been titbitting him with turkey scraps. This was all too much for Toby, who had a dodgy tummy at the best of times. We spent most of Boxing Day afternoon at the emergency vets because he was ill. Suffice to say that daddy wasn’t very popular either!
More about Vets4Pets Cleveleys
We recognise that our owners are as important as our clients. We strive to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere where you and your pet feel at ease – and your pets health is our priority.
Come and take a look! Why don’t you pop in and see for yourself – you’re more than welcome to call in and say ‘hi’.
Have a look round, whether you’re looking for a vet for a first-time pet, or thinking of changing to a new practice.
We’re a really friendly bunch – we understand that bringing your pet to the vets can be a stressful experience, so we’ll do everything that we can to make both of you feel more comfortable with what’s happening.
Vets4Pes Cleveleys – Part of the Community
We are also proud to be involved in our local community, holding regular client evenings and taking part in charity events throughout the year – keep watching for more information on what’s coming up, and you’ll also find our events listed in the Visit Fylde Coast Events Calendar.
We’re Big Enough to Cope and Small Enough to Care
The practice was founded in 2012 and has grown phenomenally from just three members of staff to double figures since then, yet managing to keep a ‘family feel’.
Find out More
Have a look at the Visit Fylde Coast website homepage for more of the latest updates.
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