Cherrydown Vets launches Pet Health Club

pet health club

pet health clubCherrydown Vets is launching its own Pet Health Club to provide a convenient and affordable way for clients to protect their pets against diseases and discomfort.

The service launches on Wednesday, October 18 and entitles clients to preferential rates and discounts on their pet’s care.

Anyone who joins will be able to spread their regular pet care costs with a fixed monthly fee which guarantees a saving of 10 per cent on all regular services.

Other benefits include a full vaccination course, annual boosters, tick and flea control, six-month health checks and microchipping for your pet.

Prices start at £12 per month for cats and £12.99 per month for dogs, with minimum savings ranging between £78 and £92 for the first year of the plan.

Emma Blackman, practice manager at Cherrydown’s Basildon branch, said: “Our new Pet Health Club will help spread costs for the things you know you are going to need while also reducing the cost of the unexpected.

“The plan also provides reassurance for owners whose pets have limited insurance policies, and help them make their money go further.

“Everything is covered right down to nail clipping – you can just pop in for a mini-pedicure!

“The service has something to offer for all of our clients and we’d be delighted to discuss its benefits, either in person or over the phone.”

You can register your interest for the Pet Health Club at www.cherrydownvets.co.uk/pet-care/pet-health-club, or by calling 01268 533 636.

Canine Parvovirus – Vaccination vs antibody testing

rotator-photo-bA lot of people are asking us about cases of parvo in this area  and what  they can do to try to prevent their pet getting it. Vaccination and antibody titre testing are ways to try to reduce the risk. Please read below to find out more about this….

The best protection against parvovirus is vaccination. The timing of vaccination is critical to ensure a good immune response. We recommend vaccination at 8 and 12 weeks to maximise the chances of success. We are concerned about the efficacy of some early finish vaccination protocols so strongly advise second vaccination is not given until 11-12 weeks.

One of the reasons for the early vaccination protocols is to encourage early socialisation of pups. We strongly recommend early socialisation but believe it can be done in a safe and effective way before the vaccination course is completed. Please give us a call if you wish to discuss this.

The first booster vaccination 12 months after the initial course is also vital to produce solid immunity. Then we recommend parvo vaccination every 3 years but other components of the vaccine need to be done yearly.

An alternative to vaccination is blood testing for antibody levels. There are some concerns with antibody testing. Firstly, antibodies are only part of the immune response. Another very important part of the immune system is cell mediated immunity which cannot be tested for but is very important in the face of viral infections. Therefore, antibody testing does not guarantee safety against infection. Secondly, knowing exactly the correct levels of antibodies that confer immunity in the face of infection is debatable.

Despite the above issues, antibody titre reading can be useful but has always been very expensive. However, new in house kits have brought the cost down so we are now able to offer antibody testing for £29.00.

In summary, we would still recommend vaccination as the best way to protect your dog against parvovirus. It has stood the test of time and we believe still offers the most reliable protection. However, if you chose not to vaccinate your dog or want added peace of mind that your vaccinated dog is protected cost effective antibody testing is now available.

Please call us now if you are worried whether your pet’s vaccinations are up to date or if you would like a titre antibody test.

Overweight Pets

o0verweightIs your pet a Usain Bolt , muscular fit and active or is it Mr Blobby in a fur coat? Chances are it’s somewhere between the two. Not many of us can expect to run a sub 10 second 100 metres, but we should be able to run it without collapsing halfway for a rest and half a bottle of oxygen. Our pets are the same and whilst not every dog is going to catch the rabbit or win the 4th race at Romford Dogs, they should at least be able to run faster than the average person and get a ball back to you before you get bored waiting for them.

Sadly obesity in pets is all too common and we see a lot of them at Cherrydown every month. Last year a major survey was done to find out more about obese pets and there were some interesting statistics:

There are approximately 2.9 million dogs and over 3 million cats in the UK that are overweight.  However, 84% of owners believe their pet is the correct weight.  This shows there is a big misunderstanding when it comes to a pet’s ideal weight, or more people need get down to Specsavers!

Some other facts include:

Rabbits have a worse diet when compared to cats and dogs.  42% of rabbits do not get enough hay every day and they are fed too much rabbit muesli.  This contributes to obesity and is linked with painful dental disease.

90% of dog owners have admitted giving their pooch cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits and takeaways.

If dogs were meant to eat crisps there’d be photos of Gary Lineker on dog food packaging. Thankfully there aren’t, and Nigella Lawson isn’t on them either so that must mean the product from cake & biscuit baking is not meant for dogs either. So why do we do it? Well…….

48% of owners say they give their pet a treat because they believe it makes their pet happy.

29% of owners say they give their pet a treat to make themselves feel happy.

100% of dictionary writers would say the important word here is ‘treat’. If you have something regularly or all the time it’s not really a treat is it? Would Christmas be as exciting if it happened every day? Would we Brits get the same pleasure from a beautiful sunny day if we were guaranteed them every day through the summer? Of course not, it’s the fact that it’s a treat that makes it so good. Giving your pet a treat is fine, but just remember that a treat should be a very occasional thing to make it special; a bit like Gary Lineker scoring from outside the penalty area.

The serious bit here folks is that obesity in pets often leads to other health issues. Too much strain is put on important organs like the heart, on bones, joints and muscles. Incidence of disease rises and life expectancy decreases. I wonder what percentage of pets that would make happy?

If you want to make your pet happy play with it, exercise it and have fun with it. When you get the lead out and walk to the door most dogs go nuts, and that’s because they’re excited and happy because they know they’re going out for some exercise. They know it makes sense which makes them smarter than some of us!

So what is the ideal weight for your pet? Can you play a tune on their ribs, if so then they’re probably too skinny. Can you actually feel their ribs, if not then they’re almost certainly too fat. Our vets and nurses can help you to realise what the ideal weight for your pet is and they can give advice on nutrition, diet and exercise to help them keep to that weight. We even have two nurses that run FREE weight clinics for your pets. All you have to do is contact us and ask for an appointment with Sarah or Rikki.

As this blog draws to a close, I’m going to ask a question that I think may not be too tricky…… would you prefer an overweight pet that is more likely to get sick, die younger and cost you more in vets bills, or would you like a fitter healthier pet at the right weight that will almost certainly cost you less in the long run and live longer? Bit of a no brainer really. Not only that, but you can get the help and advice you need to achieve this for Free (but please don’t tell Jonathan!).

Prevention is better than cure as the saying goes, and preventing obesity is easier than getting a pet to lose weight.  A good healthy diet and plenty of exercise from a young age will help your pet stay trim and make it less likely to become fat when it gets older. At Cherrydown we strongly believe good preventative care is essential to your pet’s health and that’s why we not only run free weight clinics, but keep the price of the nutritional pet foods we sell to less than our competitors. So please give us a call or pop in and see us so we can help keep your pet as healthy as possible.

healthy pets

Puppy Awareness Week

pupsPuppy Awareness Week (PAW) starts today and part of the aim is to educate people on buying a pup so they don’t get one that may have come from a puppy farm.  A recent survey was done by the Kennel Club and they asked how and where owners bought their pups and if the puppy had experienced any health issues.

The figures showed 17% of people who bought their puppy online, particularly from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, said it died within 6 months of being purchased.  Also, 12% claimed their puppy was in poor health and needed substantial medical treatment.

The figures are quite shocking and with more people buying pups online it is thought as many as 1 in 3 puppies are being bought over the internet.  The Kennel Club are asking for people to not buy from people selling pups on social networking sites and to use rescue centres or reputable breeders.

pupppsAt Cherrydown we have seen young pups that have serious health issues and in most cases it has stemmed from the poor treatment they, and their mother, received while with puppy farmers.

Typically, puppy farmers will separate the pup from its mother too early and it will not be socialised with other puppies.  They won’t follow guidelines regarding the maximum frequency of litters and won’t follow breed specific health schemes.  The pups are not wormed or immunised and in a lot of cases they are kept in poor conditions.   Also, the puppy farmer will meet you somewhere and will not invite you to their home so you can see where it was born.  If you are in the process of getting a puppy and the breeder wants to meet you in a car park or somewhere that isn’t their home, alarm bells should ring as it is more likely you will be buying a dog from a puppy farm.

If you intend on getting a puppy for yourself or as a gift, please use a reputable breeder. Alternatively, pop along to a local rescue centre as they will have lots of dogs looking for a forever home.

If you are going to go through a reputable breeder here are a few pointers:

Always go to a reputable breeder. Look for reviews,recommendations from others people or ask your vet for advice

When you speak to a breeder ask to see the puppy’s mother.  Also, take a look at the conditions of the kennels if the dogs and pups are not kept in the breeder’s home.

Ask the breeder for any certificates or documentation regarding the health of the puppy and its parents.

You may be put on a waiting list.  It will be worth it if you want a healthy puppy.

If you take the puppy home and things don’t work out a responsible breeder will let you return it.  It’s always best to check with them before you take the puppy away.

Overall, if something doesn’t ring true or feel right, don’t buy the puppy.

With our puppy package your pup can get :

1st and 2nd Vaccinations
One month of flea and worm treatment (inc Lungworm)
A microchip
An invitation to our puppy party

All this for £30 saving you £45.

Alternatively, if you know someone who is getting a puppy and might find our guide and offers useful please pass on the link to our website so they can download their own copy

Also, if you have a friend who is getting a puppy, refer them to us and if they take advantage of the £30 puppy package you will get £10 credit added to your Cherrydown account. You can download a referral form by clicking HERE

If you have any questions about any of this please contact us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page

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Bitches in Season – some useful information

34341What is a bitch’s season?

If you own a bitch (female dog) then provided she has not been spayed she will come into season on a fairly regular basis through her life. This is commonly known as ‘being on heat’ and is something that owners of all dogs need to be aware of. It is only while the bitch is in season that she can get pregnant and owners need to beaware of the cycle to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Similarly breeders need to be aware of the season to ensure mating at that time. Bitches do not have a menopause in the way humans do and they will come into season throughout their entire lives, although they will be less fertile.

What is being in season?

A bitch’s season is so do with her oestrus cycle which is the regular changes that occur in her reproductive cycle due to hormone level changes. There are various stages of the cycle and these are known as pro-oestrus, oestrus, metoestrus, dioestrus and anoestrus.

The season is from the start of pro-oestrus to the start of dioestrus and as a general rule this will take around three weeks. At the start of pro-oestus her levels of oestrogen will rise in anticipation of the release of her eggs and her uterus will start to swell. There will be physical and behavioural changes that will include

  • She will likely urinate more and this is a way for her to leave a message for male dogs to let them know she is in season.
  • She may become more outgoing and flirtatious as she attempts to attract suitors although at this stage she will not let them mount her. She may stand with her hind quarters towards the dog and move her tail to one side to allow the dog to better see and smell that she is nearing her most fertile time.
  • Physically her vulva will swell and become a more red/pink colour.
  • She will start to bleed or spot and this is more noticeable in some bitches than others. Some are so good at keeping themselves clean that it is barely noticeable.

This stage of the cycle will last an average of 9-10 days but this varies from bitch to bitch and across breeds.

The next stage of the cycle oestrus coincides with ovulation and the release of her eggs and over the next 5 or so days she will allow herself to be mounted. Physically her vulva will become even more swollen and a straw coloured discharge will often be seen.

Metoestrus follows and during this phase things start to return to normal in the bitch, she will be less exciteable, her vulva will start to return to its usual size and colouring and discharges will stop. She will not allow mating and her body starts to produce progesterone that will line her uterus in readiness for pregnancy.

Dioestrus is the final stage  and progersterone is still being produced. In non pregnant bitches the high levels of this hormone can lead to phantom pregnancies.

Anoestus is the much longer period between the seasons until oestrus starts again.

  When and how often do bitches come into season?

This again varies from bitch to bitch and across breeds but generally the first season will be around the age of 9 months and thereafter every six to nine months. The presence of other bitches in season or male dogs can make a bitch come into season sooner and groups of bitches housed together may well end up with their seasons synchronising so thaey happen close to each other.

For those that wish to breed it is recommended to wait until the bitch is at least a year old to allow for her development and maturity to reach the right level. Mating should therefore not take place during her first season.

What do owners of bitches need to be aware of?

Bitches in season are pretty much irresistible to male dogs and they will be able to detect the scent of a bitch in heat from a considerable distance and will want/try to get to her. Sensible precautions must be taken by the owners of bitches in season to avoid pregnancy. During the period when she will allow mating it may be wise not to take her out for walks but to provide exercise in the garden or house. If there is a male dog living in the house they need to be strictly seperated. If taking her out for a walk it is sensible to keep her on a lead at all times and to go to quiet places where there are unlikely to be other dogs. During the stage of the cycle where the bitch is bleeding/spotting or discharging the straw coloured fluid, surfaces should be thoroughly cleansed and good hygiene practiced eg. Using a new floor cloth each time, wearing gloves and washing hands.

Spaying – the advantages

Unless you intend to breed from your bitch it is recommended that they are spayed. There is debate as to when this should happen and we would say it needs to be after 6 months of age and in some breeds it is better to wait until after their first season.  The best advice is to consult your vet who will give you guidance. Advantages of spaying are that they are less prone to certain cancers, will not accidentally become pregnant  and won’t suffer from a potentially fatal uterine infection known as a pyometra.

Greyhounds

dickieGreyhounds bring back memories of watching World of Sport with Dickie Davies on a Saturday afternoon during the 70’s and 80’s. We would watch the wrestling, the darts and the dog races. Many people only think of greyhounds when it comes to racing but these dogs do make greats pets.

Greyhounds

Greyhounds are an old breed that was originally bred for coursing game.  It wasn’t until the 1920’s when they were used for racing and race tracks shot up around the US and UK. Unfortunately, due to the lack of interest in trackside betting there are more and more race tracks closing down.  This means many of the racers are being put up for adoption or, in worst case scenarios, they are just dumped.

Greyhounds are a gentle and intelligent breed. They are loving, affectionate and love people.  There is a myth that these dogs are highly strung and they can be aggressive but nothing could be further from the truth.  Greyhounds are calm and are people lovers. In most cases, from a young age, these dogs are handled by many people from vets, to people at race tracks or kennels.  They are used to adapting to different people, sights, sounds and surroundings. They are good around kids and due to their non- aggressive behaviour they are more likely to just walk away from trouble.

Another misconception is that Greyhounds require lots of exercise.  Again, this isn’t the case.  Although they are fast they don’t have a great deal of endurance.  Their speed is only over short distances so in reality you only really need to exercise them as you would an average dog.

One thing to remember is to keep a greyhound on a lead.  Greyhounds are trained to chase fast moving lures so they only have to see something shoot past they may go running after it.  Having your greyhound disappear into the distance at approx. 43 miles per hour is not a good idea. Even Usain Bolt would have trouble keeping up.

Health wise, Greyhounds are generally fit and healthy.  They are prone to bone fractures but this isn’t an inherent trait. Racing dogs, due to breeding and training, have few issues.  They could suffer injury from colliding with other dogs on the track and when they run around the bends of a track it can put a lot of pressure on the joints and toes.  Also, when these dogs are retired from racing it is usually because of a problem.  Many Greyhounds will have issues with their joints with DJD (degenerative joint disease) being the most common.  Arthritis is another common complaint.

There are many shelters around the country that specialise in re-homing Greyhounds (http://www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk) and if you decided  to take one home you will be rewarded by having a dog that is loyal and loving.

If you have any questions about this subject please call the clinic and someone will be able to help you.  Alternatively you can leave a message on our Facebook page.

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Cocker Spaniels

cocker

Did you know…these dogs were originally called Cocking Spaniels and they gained their name from flushing out Woodcocks for hunters?  Due to their small size they were ideal for chasing ground dwelling birds out of bushes and hedgerows.

The true origin of these dogs is not known even though they have appeared in paintings and books for hundreds of years.  It is thought they may have originated from Spain in the 14th century. The Oxford English Dictionary described the word “Spaniel” as coming from the old French word “Espaigneul” which meant “Spanish (Dog)”.

There was a time when all Spaniels were separated into two categories, land or water Spaniels.  They were then put into sub-categories dependant on their size.  Larger dogs were used to spring game (later to be known as Springer Spaniels) and the smaller dogs were used to flush out Woodcocks.

Nowadays they are known as the Cocker Spaniel (or English Cocker Spaniel) and also have a lovely nickname, the “Merry Cocker”.  This is due to their happy nature, a constantly wagging tail and they are eager to please.

These dogs are happy and friendly, playful and extremely loyal and gentle.  They love to be around people and due to their happy and loving disposition, this makes them an ideal family pet. They tend to get on well with children and other animals.   Also, they make an excellent companion pet  for the elderly thanks to their gentle nature and willingness to please.

Cocker Spaniels are generally healthy, but as with all dogs they are prone to certain problems.  Due to their floppy ears they are more at risk of ear infections as the flap can trap moisture and dirt.  It is important to regularly check a Cocker’s ears to make sure everything looks ok.  If you are in any doubt, make sure you take your dog to a vet

An issue which can affect a Cocker Spaniel is Progressive Retinal Atrophy.  This is a disease that affects the retina which, over time, gradually deteriorates and can lead to blindness.  The first sign is night blindness or trouble seeing in low light.  If you notice your dog walking into things or you believe there is a problem with their vision, take them to the vet to check.

Another issue with the eye is Entropion.  This is a medical condition found in many dog breeds.  It results in the eyelids folding inwards and causing discomfort when the eyelashes constantly rub against the cornea.  If it is noticed early enough the issue can be solved with a simple operation and with no permanent damage to the cornea.

Other possible health issue include:

Hepatitis
Cataracts
Dry eye
Epilepsy
Kidney or heart disease
Pancreatitis
Hip Dysplasia

Generally a healthy Cocker Spaniel will not suffer with any of these and will live a long and happy life.  However, it’s worth knowing about what could happen and what to look out for so any problems can be caught early.

One more thing to remember, these dogs have long coats so will need regular grooming as it can become tangled and matted.  Also, check their ears and feet for trapped grass seeds, insects and other bits.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to help and advise you.  Alternatively you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Dental Disease

teeth2

 

Many dog owners do not realise that dental disease, particularly gum disease, is common in their pets. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of dental disorder.   If there is a problem and it is left untreated it could cause irreversible damage to teeth, gums and jawbone.  Dog owners should have a dental routine in place for their dog to help towards a happy and healthy life. We will list a few hints and tips on keeping your dog’s mouth in good order

Use a good quality toothbrush.  It doesn’t have to be a special one.  Brushes for humans will do.  If you have a medium to large dog use an adult brush. If you have a small to medium size dog, a child’s toothbrush will be sufficient.  You can get puppy toothbrushes from your vet as they can be used on miniature and toy dogs.  If you are just starting to brush your dog’s teeth it may be wise to buy finger brushes.  This will help get  your dog used to the sensation of having its teeth brushed.

You will need to regularly brush your dog’s teeth.  This will prevent gum disease, the build-up of tarter and will help to remove plaque.  It will also keep your dog’s breath fresh.  If your dog isn’t happy about having this done, keep at it.  They will soon accept it as part of their routine.

Make sure you use pet toothpaste.  These are flavoured so dogs will like them and will be more likely to let you brush their teeth.  Also, dogs will be swallowing the paste so they formulated not to cause any harm.  You can get toothpaste and other dental products from your vet.

Give your dog something to chew.  A strong, rubber chew toy or rawhide strips can help towards keeping teeth clean and healthy.

Making changes to your dog’s diet can help.  Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow down the build-up of plaque.  The extra chewing stimulates the production of saliva which has natural antibiotics.  There are special diets available to help keep your pets teeth clean.  Speak to your vet who will be able to advise you on this.

Did you know dogs will chew things with enough force to break their teeth? Regularly check your dog’s mouth for any problems.  Things to look out for which might indicate an issue are

Chipped or broken teeth
Bad breath
Red, swollen or bleeding gums
Check the gum line fits around the teeth.

If there is a more serious dental issue look out for

Problems eating – advanced dental issues may be causing your dog some pain and discomfort
If your dog is in pain they may be shaking their head or pawing at their mouth.
You dog may dribble excessively

If you believe there is a problem take your dog to the vet immediately.  If your dog has a dental problem and is in pain the vet may take an x-ray to see if there are any deep abscesses.  If your dog has any loose teeth they may be removed as they cannot be treated.  The vet may even prescribe antibiotics to combat signs of infection before doing any dental work.

If you regularly clean your dog’s teeth there will be less chance of any dental problems occurring. However, it is advisable to get your pets teeth checked at least once a year with the vet.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to discuss this with you.  Alternatively, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

The Vet Says – Beware Heatstroke in Pets

sunUnless you live in Liverpool or John O’Groats, you may have noticed Summer has finally arrived, and with vengeance. Record temperatures over the weekend look set to continue, and it poses a real threat to your pet’s health. With that in mind here are some tips from Jonathan on keeping your pet cool in the sweltering heat.

With the sudden increase in temperature, it is important to be aware that our pets are at risk of heat stroke (hyperthermia). We see this most commonly in dogs but rabbits and guinea pigs kept outside in hutches or in sheds are also at risk. Cats are less susceptible to the effects of heat as they will adapt their lifestyle accordingly. However, I have seen cases in cats where owners had shut them in a conservatory and they had no ability to escape.

Dogs can overheat in a number of ways. The most obvious is when they are left in cars in the hot weather. They will very rapidly overheat and leaving a window open a couple of centimetres DOES NOT HELP. It never ceases to amaze me that despite all the hard work by the RSPCA to highlight the risks of leaving your dog in the car, it still happens. If owners do not believe how dangerous it is to leave their dog in a car for even a few minutes, I invite them to park their car on a hot day, put on a nice thick coat (because that is what their furry friend is wearing) and see how long they can sit comfortably in it with the window open a couple of centimetres.

Conservatories are similarly as dangerous. However, the commonest reason I see dogs suffering from heatstroke is that owners will insist on taking their dogs out for a walk despite the hot weather. And in some cases still throw a ball for them to chase! Please be sensible and only walk your dog when it is cool very early in the morning or late at night. If in doubt- do not walk them because animals can die of heatstroke.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • •Rapid Panting and Drooling
  • •Bright red tongue
  • •Red and Pale Gums
  • •Thick Sticky Saliva
  • •Hyper ventilation (gasping for air)
  • •Glossy eyes •Fever (103 +)
  • •Vomiting
  • •Weakness
  • •Diarrhea

Some breeds are more susceptible than others to heat stroke, particularly short-nosed breeds like Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs. Of course if you’re concerned call us for advice on 01268 533636. For further information on heat stroke in dogs visit the Dog Squad website.

Adopting a pet – Part 1

Each year more and more pets are being dumped or given away by their owners.  According to the RSPCA more than 100 animals are being abandoned each day.  This is a 65% increase compared to figures in 2007.

There are many reasons why people give away their pets:

The pets are too much hard work or they are not what they expected

They cost too much to keep –  they can’t afford the food, medical care, boarding costs etc

The owners have lost interest in the pet.

The owners have moved and cannot have pets in the new home

The owner becomes ill or passes away

Breakdown of relationships and no one wants to take responsibility of the pet

The owner doesn’t want an old dog

The dog isn’t pretty enough

Many of these animals end up in shelters looking for new homes. Unfortunately, due to the amount of pets being abandoned, it’s getting harder and harder to find each animal somewhere to live which causes the running costs of the shelters to increase.

Luckily, there are many people who are willing to adopt a pet and give it second chance at happiness.  Below are a few hints and tips about adopting an animal.  In this blog we will start with dogs.

Choosing a dog

Whether you are buying a dog from a reputable breeder or adopting one you still need to do your homework. You need to think about how much time you can spend with the dog. Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? Will your circumstances be changing over the next couple of years that may affect the dog? Can you afford it as it can become expensive?  If you have other animals will they accept a new dog?

If you do not think you could handle a puppy it may be worth looking after an adult dog. Also, would you consider a more senior animal? In a lot of shelters the older dogs are generally last to be adopted and in some cases they are the first to be euthanised as they are harder to rehome.  Senior dogs can give you lots of love and due to their experience can be easier to train and will fit into your home without too many problems, however, you may need patience as older dogs may take a bit more time to settle in.

Consider the background of the dog compared to your home. If you have a fast moving noisy house, it may not be ideal choosing a dog that may have had a quiet life with elderly owners. Also, vice versa – if you want a quiet life, getting a dog that is fairly hyper would also not be ideal

Speak to the adoption centre and ask lots of questions as they will be able to help and advise you.

Get information from the shelter

Make sure you get all the information about the dog from the shelter.  Many dogs in rehome shelters will be strays but there will be dogs that have come from the owners so the shelter will have some background information on the animal.   Many shelters and rescue centres will ensure the dog is chipped and neutered/spayed before the dog leaves them. However, some places will requireyou to arrange that yourself as part of the adoption agreement.

Ask about what food the dog was given and at what times.  This ensures there is some sort of continuity when the dog arrives at your home.  If you are thinking about giving the dog different food, make it a gradual change so it limits any possible digestive problems.  Speak to your vet or the shelter if you need advice on this

Before you bring your dog home

Before your dog arrives in your home make sure it has a space to call its own. The dog will initially be confused to why it is at your home and won’t know what to expect. It can be a stressful time for the dog with the change of environment so make sure it has a bed ready so it can retire to it if things get a bit too much.  Dog proof any room(s) that the dog will spend a lot of time in.  Tape up cables, remove or lock away anything poisonous, remove anything breakable, instal baby gates if you want them to keep out of certain areas.

Introducing the dog to your home

When you move house you know how stressful it can be.  This is the same for dogs.  Give them time to get used to the new surroundings and the people within your home.  If you have children make sure they do not overwhelm the animal.  Just take it slowly so the dog has the space and time to adjust.

No matter how house trained a dog may be, there may be accidents.  When entering a new home there will be lots of new sights and smells so it may be thrown off track.  Be prepared to clean up just in case.

Over the next few days remain calm and have as much one on one time with the dog as possible. This will help you learn all the things it likes and dislikes.  It will also help your dog settle in a lot quicker.  Try and keep to a schedule with food and walks. This helps the dog learn what is expected from it and what to expect from you.

It’s a good idea to take your dog to your vet for a thorough check. They will be able to advise you on vaccines, check for any possible health issues and can advise you on how to get the best out of your dog.

There are lots of other hints and tips which can help you when adopting a dog.  If you have any questions or would like advice on this subject, please contact the clinic and someone will be able to help.  Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page