Updated opening hours for Stafford and Rugeley branches

We understand that some people find it difficult to bring their pets to us during daytime hours due to work commitments, so we’re updating our opening hours to include more late night appointments.

Starting immediately we are introducing late nights at both Stafford and Rugeley in order to offer for flexibility to our clients.

You can visit either branch should you need us, regardless of which branch your pet is registered at, but you will need to call for an appointment first.

Our new opening hours are:

Stafford

Mon – 8:30am – 8.00pm

Tuesday to Friday – 8:30am – 6.00pm

Saturday 8:30am – 12:30pm

Sunday closed

Rugeley

Mon-8.00am – 6.00pm

Tuesday to Thursday – 8.00am – 8.00pm

Friday – 8.00am – 6.00pm

Saturday 8.00am – 12:30pm

Sunday closed

We hope this will be of benefit to you.

 

Going to the beach with your dog this summer?

With restrictions on holidays abroad, and ongoing updates to the quarantine list, many people are opting for a ‘staycation’ in the UK this year. If your summer plans involve a trip to one of our beautiful beaches and your dog is lucky enough to be joining you, here are some things to be mindful of:

Heatstroke

Remember that dogs are prone to feeling the effects of the sun too, with dehydration being a danger to them. When you’re at the coast the sea breeze may make it feel cooler than it is, so do be aware of any changes in your dog’s behaviour and try to create some shade for them to rest in. Make sure you have a supply of fresh water for them to drink and avoid taking them out in the heat of the day – remember that dry sun-baked sand can get very hot and burn your dog’s feet.

For more information about protecting your pet from the sun click here.

Sand

When ingested, sand can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, which may need surgery to remove. If your dog has never been to the beach before they may be curious about this new material and try to eat it. They may also inadvertently ingest sand when fetching a wet sand-coated ball. Keep your dog in view and be mindful of what’s in their mouths.

Swimming in the sea

We love to see a happy dog bounding through the waves but be sure to check the depth of the water and make sure there are no sudden drops that could cause your dog to get into difficulties. Small dogs are especially at risk due to their shorter legs, and a strong current could be more dangerous for them due to their lighter body weight.

Seawater

Drinking salty seawater will also add to the risk of dehydration and can cause diarrhoea. Too much seawater can cause toxic sodium levels which can be fatal. Once again be mindful of what your dog is doing at all times and be sure to have plenty of fresh water available.

Remember, if you’re travelling by car, ensure your dog is safely harnessed for the journey. Find out more here.

And finally, have fun!

 

Taking your dog out in public

The daily walk forms an important part of our dog’s routine; a chance for them to stretch their legs (and ours!). As it’s something we do every day, we may not always be aware of some of the rules and restrictions in place when we wander through the park or woodland.

It’s always best to research your local authority’s website to understand the laws in place for your area, but below are a few general points to keep in mind when out in public with your dog:

1.  Cleaning up after your dog

It might seem like it goes without saying, but at some point, we’ve all been unfortunate enough to tread in another dog’s mess. As well as the unpleasantness it brings, it can also pose a health issue, with the parasites contained in dog faeces being harmful to both humans and livestock if ingested. Although certain public areas might not legally require you to clean up after your dog fouls (such as woodland or heathland), it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of doing so every time. This way, you do your bit to protect the environment while also avoiding any unwanted fixed penalty fines.

  1. Being mindful of livestock

When out walking your dog through woodland and countryside, there’s a good chance that you will come across a range of livestock, such as sheep and cattle, out in fields. It’s important to ensure that your dog is kept on a short lead if you can see, or suspect, that livestock may be close by – even if they have never tended to chase before. As well as the obvious harm your dog biting livestock could cause, even chasing and barking can cause them distress, making them react irrationally and potentially putting yourself and your dog in danger. Did you know, it’s also an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep as they can become very poorly if stressed?

  1. Walking with your dog on a lead

There are other local areas, in addition to the above, where you may have to ensure that your dog is kept on a lead. These include certain park areas as well as sports pitches and children’s playgrounds, and there is usually signage on display that provides information on any orders or restrictions. It’s always a good idea to check your local authority website if in any doubt though, as there are strong criminal punishments if your dog was to injure another person or make them fear injury.

  1. Maintaining a safe distance

Not something you would have had to consciously consider before, but with recent events and current guidelines, maintaining social distancing has become a requirement within the daily dog walk routine. With the better weather over the summer months and no restrictions on our movements, local parks can be busy with families and fellow dog-walkers, which may mean having to be mindful of the route you take and how close your dog is to others.

You can find more advice about UK dog laws, including when out in a public place at https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/public-spaces-protection-orders

A charity donation to the British Wildlife Rescue Centre

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of charity fundraising has been taking place for the NHS to support them in the wonderful work they’ve been doing. Whilst we fully support these charity efforts, unfortunately it means that other charities – including those close to our own hearts – have seen a decline in donations.

That’s why, here at D&T, we’re proud to have been able to make a contribution of £694.17 to the British Wildlife Rescue Centre.

The British Wildlife Rescue Centre rescues and rehabilitates approximately 2000 wild creatures each year. As a typical example, in one day, they took in: 1 fledgling wood pigeon, 1 house martin, 1 wren, 1 nestling blackbird, 1 Canada goose, 4 short tailed voles, 3 baby rabbits, 1 goldfinch, 1 seagull and 2 hedgehogs.

Our Clinical Director, Sarah, said this about supporting the charity:

“We get many calls from the public regarding wildlife that doesn’t need veterinary care but may need rehabilitation and support before returning to the wild. We therefore direct a lot of public calls regarding wildlife to the British Wildlife Rescue Centre, and they are always very willing to help. The charity was previously located in a visitors centre which was also very popular with a lot of our team’s children, although unfortunately they had to close the visitor centre in 2018 due to lack of funds.

Now they are no longer open to visitors we were concerned they would see a drop in donations and fundraising. We know how vital their work is so we wanted to support them as much as possible.”

To find about more about the British Wildlife Rescue Centre and the work that they do, visit the BWRC website.

Camping with your dog

Have your holiday plans this summer taken on a different look and feel? Are you swapping sunbeds and sand for…well, a field? Camping and caravanning is the holiday trend for summer 2020. Many campsites are fully prepared to safely cater for families over the coming months and the great news is, many are happy to welcome our dogs too!

If this is the first time you’ve camped with your dog, this checklist might be a useful reminder about what to pack.

Food

Keep things simple and take your dog’s usual food with you. Avoid feeding your dog barbecue or picnic scraps as they could cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhoea.

Bedding

Both tents and caravans can get chilly at night so it’s a good idea to pack extra layers for your dog. An insulated camping mat covered with a couple of blankets makes an ideal dog bed. The ground can feel hard and uncomfortable, especially if your dog has arthritis, so the more padding the better. Cushions from deckchairs could double up as your dog’s bed.

Shade

The temperature inside a tent can change rapidly; it can be freezing during the night and stiflingly hot during the day. Make a dog shade by attaching an awning or a porch to the outside of your tent or caravan. Some dogs love to lie on a cooling mat; these provide an easily transportable cool surface for your dog.

Water

Just as you would at home, take plenty of water and a small bowl with you when you head out for the day with your dog.

Stake-out

Campsites usually ask you to keep your dog on a lead and be considerate of other campers. Metal stakes are widely available specifically for this purpose. They anchor into the ground and provide a secure place to tether your dog safely away from cars, bikes and children.

Dog identification tags can tarnish over time; check your dog’s tag is easy to read and your phone number is up to date.

Vaccinations and parasite control

Give us a call if your dog’s vaccinations aren’t up to date; we can advise you whether it’s OK to wait or get you booked in before you go. Make sure your dog has been wormed recently too as there are often many dogs sharing the same toileting facilities (usually a designated field).

Medication

If your dog has long term medication, make sure you have enough for your trip. Let us know if you need to order more and we’ll check you have everything you need.

Vets

If you’re travelling out of the area, it’s useful to find the phone number of a local vet. Hopefully you won’t need them but if your dog does become unwell, it’s one less thing to worry about. If you do need to see a vet while you’re away, we can email them with any clinical information they need to help them treat your dog.

Insurance

Take the details of your dog’s policy with you; this will save time and give you peace of mind if you do need a vet while you’re away.

Camping with your dog might be the start of a whole new way of holidaying for your family?! It could also convince you to start booking next year’s beach holiday ASAP- either way it’s likely to be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!

If you need any advice about holidaying with your dog, please give us a call.

Grass seed dangers to cats and dogs

Grass seeds are a common problem during the spring and summer months. While your pet explores the outdoors, grass seed can easily brush off the tops of long grass stems onto their bodies. The seeds have pointed ends and are exceptionally sharp, so they become trapped in your pet’s fur and due to their shape they can only travel in one direction. This means they can often penetrate skin or move into ears

If left untreated, grass seeds can cause a variety of problems. These problems range across the spectrum from minor irritation to conditions that require surgery. Grass seeds carry bacteria which can cause an infection if the skin of your pet is affected.

An untreated infection may spread, or the seed can cause severe internal damage as it travels through the body. Unfortunately, if the seed breaches the skin, surgery is often required to find the grass seed, along with the use of antibiotics and antifungals for treatment.

Symptoms

You pet could experience different symptoms depending on what part of the body is affected. Look out for swelling, hair matting and irritation. Additional signs can include scratching, head shaking or discharge from the eyes or nose. The table below provides more detail on the main symptoms and potential damage caused by grass seeds. The damage really depends on how far they travel and how long they are left.

Prevention is the best cure

Try to keep your pet away from long grassy areas since the seeds can catch onto their coat, skin or toes very easily. If you take your pet outdoors for a walk, check their fur for any grass seeds when you get home. The typical areas to check are eyes, ears, nose, armpits and their toes – which is where the seeds often get lodged. Keep long-haired dogs trimmed or clipped and well-groomed, especially around their feet and ears.

If you are concerned that your pet may have picked up a grass seed please get in touch. The earlier grass seeds are caught, the less damage they can do.

D&T COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 1st July update

We can now offer a full range of services for our patients, while still adhering to COVID-19 social distancing rules.

As a Practice, we have been preparing for how we will work in the ‘new normal’. We will be providing the same high-quality services, with the same friendly, caring people, just delivered in a slightly different way.

We are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and therefore lead times for appointments may be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time – we will do our best to make your appointment as smooth as possible.

Guidance for attending your appointment:

To keep everyone safe could we please request that you remain in your vehicle when you arrive at the practice and call reception to let us know you have arrived. One of the team will then describe the process to you and this may involve someone coming out to your car to collect your pet for their appointment.

If you are asked to enter the practice please follow the following measures:

-remaining 2m apart

-wear a face covering at all times

-use hand sanitiser when entering and leaving the practice

We will also be taking payment via remote payment links.

We have made these changes as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Top 10 hazards to watch out for this summertime to protect your pets

Summer brings longer days, warmer climates, new adventures and outdoor socialising, which with pets in tow, can be made even more enjoyable! However, when the temperatures rise, the dangers to our pets increase too. To keep pets safe, you should be aware of potential hazards, as well as some top tips to help prevent your pet from endangering themselves throughout the summer months.

  1. Heatstroke and dehydration 

Our pet’s fur is great in the cold winter months, however, in the summer it can make them very uncomfortable, especially long-haired dogs, who require regular grooming. Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above its normal levels and therefore cannot accommodate any additional heat.

Some of the key symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Dry pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Excessive panting
  • Agitatedbehaviour
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting

To minimise the risk of dehydration and heatstroke, your pet should have access to clean, fresh drinking water. You should avoid exercising your dog during the hottest part of the day and try and get out early morning or late evening. If you are out with your dog for the day, you should carry a portable drinking bottle or bowl which is easily accessible and dispensed as required. Short-nosed dogs, dark-coloured pets and animals that are overweight are more susceptible to heatstroke and should be carefully monitored.

If you do think that your dog is dehydrated, or is demonstrating one or more of the symptoms listed above, cool them down with a hose, or place a cool, damp towel over them and call us as soon as possible for advice.

  1. Ticks

Our pets will be spending more time outside and will become more prone to ticks. Ticks are commonly found in woodland and grassland. Ticks are small parasites, which suck blood from other animals and have an egg-shaped body, which expands and becomes darker when they are filled with blood.

If you do discover a tick, and are confident to so do, you should remove it straight away. You should avoid squeezing the body or leaving the head in your pet. Removing a tick can be done using a tick removal tool, which can be purchased from your local practice.  If you are unsure how to remove a tick, please call us and we can assist. If the tick is not removed correctly, it can leave the tick’s head in your pet, which can cause a nasty reaction.

To prevent your pet from getting bitten, you can purchase preventative treatments from your local Practice which will repel ticks. Please call us to discuss and purchase the best treatment for your pet.

  1. Bee or wasp stings

As humans, we fret around the buzzing noise when a bee comes close, however, an inquisitive pet may seek to investigate, and as a result, could get stung. Commonly, most stings will cause your pet some irritation and some pain. Dependent on where your pet has been stung, and if they have been stung before, there can be a lot of swelling and they may continually scratch the stung area, which can result in fur loss. Most commonly a cat may have a swollen paw and a dog may have a swollen mouth, which can result in breathing difficulties.

If your pet shows any of the following symptoms, they could have been stung:

  • Drooling
  • Whining
  • Swelling
  • Pawing at the face, or mouth
  • Biting at the site of the sting
  • Holding up their paw (if that is where they have been stung)
  • Hives

If they have been stung near their mouth or nose, you should contact us straight away, as this is a medical emergency.

  1. Extra Fur

Keeping your pet well-groomed is particularly important in warmer weather. It will help if you brush your pet to remove any excess or matted fur and to reduce the thickness of their hair. Having thick, ungroomed hair could contribute to heatstroke, as highlighted above. However, it is also important to remember that your pet’s coat also protects them from getting sunburnt.

Some pets are more susceptible to getting burnt by the sun. Fair haired animals, such as a white dogs and cats, tend to have fair skin under their fur. Pets with fine, thin hair, and hairless breeds are also at risk of sunburn. However, regardless of how much fur they have, all pets are vulnerable on areas which do not have much fur if any, including their ears, nose and on their tummy. To protect your pet, you can buy pet friendly sunblock.

  1. Barbeques and alfresco dining

There’s nothing more enjoyable than cooking up a feast and enjoying your favourite tipple outdoors, however for your pet there are many things to be mindful of including hazardous foods, toxic drinks, scalding surfaces and kebab skewers to name a few.

Some food and drinks which should be kept out of reach of your pet include:

  • Food with bones
  • Food with seeds
  • Grapes
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw onions
  • Raisins
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chocolate
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Coffee/coffee beans
  • Teas/tea bags
  1. Swimming pools, sea, rivers, and lakes 

For many dogs, a pool, river, or lake may look inviting when the temperatures are high, however, it’s important to remember that not all dogs can swim, or even like the water. If you are introducing your dog to water, we would advise initially trying a shallow children’s paddling pool. If they enjoy that, you could introduce them to wider, deeper waters – however, we suggest using a dog-specific flotation device for their safety. If you are near water with a current or tide, please be wary. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, they could quickly find themselves in trouble, especially if they are swimming against a tide.

Keep a look out for blue-green algae and associated warning signs, as this is often poisonous for dogs. Don’t let your dog swim or drink water which you suspect is containment. You should contact us straight away if your dog has come into contact.

If your dog does enjoy swimming, after they have played in the water you should ensure they are always thoroughly rinsed, to wash away salt, chlorine, and harmful bacteria.

  1. Walking on hot pavements and artificial grass 

Hot pavements can burn your pet’s paws. Your pet’s paws are just as sensitive as the bottom of our feet, so if it is unbearable for you to touch, then it will be for your pet to walk on. We would advise trying the seven-second rule; if you can place the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds or more, then your pet should be able to withstand the temperature of the surface. If you cannot, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

To prevent your dog from burning its paws, you should follow the measures listed below:

  • Walking them in the cooler hours of the day – early morning or late evening
  • If you are out in the midday heat, try and walk them on the grass where possible
  • Clean and check your dog’s paws regularly
  1. Fertiliser and pesticides 

Most fertilisers contain nitrogen and iron, which will poison your pet, and cause severe stomach problems which can cause irritation. Pesticides can cause your pet to have tremors and seizures.

If you are not sure if your pet has been exposed to such chemicals, but your pet is showing one of the following symptoms please call us and we can provide the appropriate treatment recommendations:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Dark, muddy coloured gums
  • Unusual posture due to abdominal pain.
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  1. Flowers and Plants 

Many plants and flowers are poisonous for our pets. If your pet consumes a poisonous plant, depending on how much and their level of toxicity, they may become quite unwell. Below is a shortlist of just some of the plants which can be hazardous to our pets which grow in the summer months:

  • Elder: The whole plant, including the elderberries, are poisonous for both cats and dogs.
  • Lilies: Containing a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, collapsing, fits and heart problems, and renal failure in cats. Lily flowers and leaves are also often used in flower bouquets and are very poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Foxglove: Both the seeds and the leaves of a foxglove plant contain a toxin which can cause your pet to have heart problems, sickness, and diarrhoea, fits and collapsing.
  • Geranium: The whole geranium plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Hydrangea: Parts of a hydrangea plant contain cyanide which is toxic to both dogs and cats.
  1. Cars 

You should never leave your dog in a car, even if it is just for a few minutes. Heatstroke can happen quickly, and it can be fatal. In warm weather, the temperature in a car can increase rapidly, making it hotter inside the car than outside. If your dog becomes distressed in a hot car, passers-by are encouraged to dial 999, and the police will act to release the dog – even if that means damage to your vehicle.

Summer is an enjoyable time of year with our pets. Please be aware of just some of the many hazards which your pets could be exposed to and having a cautious and watchful eye will help keep your pet safe.

If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice, please contact us.

Adopt a pet – save a life

If recent months meant you put your new pet plans on hold, you may now be starting to put the wheels in motion to extend your family and welcome a new member. Many people Google reputable breeders or consider designer dogs based on celebrity social media profiles, however, considering adopting a rescue animal can be hugely rewarding.

Animal rescue homes are currently overwhelmed with abandoned animals. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic left many people unable to look after their pets due to financial constraints from being furloughed or made, or the inability to give them the care and exercise they need due to medical shielding.

Add to this that many rescue centres, who rely on public charity to cover their running costs, have also seen a huge drop in financial support and it’s clear there is a greater need than ever to consider giving a rescue animal it’s ‘fur-ever’ home.

Adopt don’t shop

There are thousands of animals around the UK who have been abandoned by their owners for one reason or another. They may have been badly treated or not well looked after and, as a result, not had the happy life that pets deserve. By giving one of these animals a second chance you’re contributing to giving them another, better life.

Things to consider

Rescue animals may come with a history, so you need to be prepared and able to deal with any issues which will be flagged to you by the animal shelter. Mistreatment may result in a nervous pet who will need lots of love, attention, and reassurance as well as the usual feeding, exercising and comfort elements.

Decide on what type of animal you can offer a good home to, and try to stay focussed. If you have children at home and a rescue cat doesn’t get on well with children, for example, you’re not going to be able to change that. Adopting an animal isn’t just about saving them. It’s making sure they’re the right fit for you and your circumstances, and you’re right for them and theirs. If you’re looking for a dog, decide on the size you have space for at home. Don’t plan for a terrier and take home a Great Dane!

Most of all, make sure that – as far as is humanly possible – your new pet will be welcomed into your family permanently. Having already gone through losing an owner for whatever reason, it would be heartbreaking for your adopted animal to have to go back into the rehoming process for a second time.

What to expect

Animal charities will want to know a little bit about your home life, what space you have available and whether you have children or other pets. They may want to visit you at your home to assess the suitability of the space.

Once the process is complete and you’re officially matched, be prepared for some readjustment time. Even though you’ve made your home welcoming, with comfy bedding, toys and good food, your new pet will need some time to get used to their new surroundings. They may be withdrawn, quiet or unresponsive in the early days. Try to reassure them without being overwhelming. Be patient with any toilet mishaps, speak to them with a gentle voice and don’t chastise them. They need to learn to trust you, so early impressions are essential.

Ready to start looking for a rescue pet?

There are a number of national charities who have available pets listed on their websites. Also consider local animal rescue centres in your area.

RSPCA – https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeapet

Dog’s Trust – https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/

Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet

Advice on helping injured wildlife in the summer

As we transition from lockdown, more of us are exploring the outdoors with our pets in the summer weather. With increased time outside, the chances of coming across injured or sick wildlife also multiply. If you encounter a wild animal in need, it can be hard to know what to do. Wild animals can be very unpredictable if approached by humans, especially when they are frightened or injured.

Many baby birds and mammals are mistakenly taken from their families each year by well-meaning people. Check to see if a baby animal is orphaned before intervening – often their parent is hiding just out of sight, ready to return as soon as the human danger is gone. Unless there are clear signs of injury or sickness, it is best to call the RSPCA or your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre before acting.

Signs that your help is needed

There are a few common signs that you can look out for to help:

  • The animal is brought to you by your cat or dog.
  • There is evidence of bleeding.
  • The animal has an apparent or obvious broken limb.

Top tips to remember

If you find an injured, orphaned, or trapped animal, it’s important to approach carefully – and remember to place your own safety first. By using some of these tips, you can ensure a better outcome for wildlife:

  • Gently place an injured bird in a cardboard box and a mammal in a pet carrier, with a non-frayed towel on the bottom, and place somewhere quiet until they can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
  • Please try to put uninjured baby birds with no feathers that are found on the ground back into the nest. Mother birds will not reject babies that have been handled by people.
  • Keep birds away from your face as their beaks can cause injuries.
  • Always check long grass for rabbit nests before mowing. Keep an eye out for hedgehog nests; they can be found at the base of thick hedges, garden sheds or piles of rubbish.
  • If you are transporting an injured animal in your car, leave the radio off and keep talking to a minimum. Since wild animals aren’t accustomed to our voices, they can become very stressed by noise. Keeping their stress level to a minimum will help keep them alive.
  • Wear gloves if possible – gardening gloves work well if you have them. Proper protection is especially vital with injured bats as their bites can transmit rabies-like disease. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling an animal.
  • Never lift a wild animal, unless you are sure that you can do so without risk to yourself or others.

Feel free to contact us if you are uncertain on what to do, however if you need to bring an animal for care, the RSPCA and local wildlife rehabilitation centres are better suited for injured wildlife than most vets. We can refer you to a local contact who specialise in treating wildlife. For more details on handling injured wildlife, please visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals