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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Bull Mastiffs

The Bull Mastiff is a big, strong, intelligent dog that was originally bred from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog in the 19th Century. Gamekeepers used them on large estates to help keep them free of poachers.

Even though Bull Mastiffs are big dogs they are sensitive, loving and can make good family pets because they are very loyal and protective.  They are great with children and will watch over them as well as being an excellent guardian of the home.  Bull Mastiffs are generally quiet and rarely bark, however, if they sense a possible threat they will make a lot of noise and will raise the alarm.  They are very territorial so will make natural guard dogs and they will protect you with their life.

When you read about Bull Mastiffs they sound wonderful. They are laid back, unless there is danger, faithful, eager to please, fearless and have unconditional love for people. However, there is one BIG messy downside………………SLOBBER!

These dogs are well known for their drool and slobber so you will need to have an old towel or rag in every room of the house. Also, have a few spare ones near the front door so you can give them to visitors who enter your home.  They do not discriminate when it comes to sharing the slobber.

Due to their size and stubborn nature, Bull Mastiffs need training from early on before they get too big. They need to be trained not to pull on the lead.  Also, it is good to socialise it with other dogs at an early age so it develops into a reliable and well behaved dog.

bull mastiff dog

Health Issues

As with most dogs there are certain types of hereditary problems associated with this breed such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Lymphoma Cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Arthritis and Bloat.

For more information on some of these issues we have other blogs on our website and also our health advice pages. The links are below.  Also, as well as our main Facebook page we have a sister page which relates to our Orthopaedic Services and covers issues such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.  Click here and it will take you directly to the page. Please click the “like” button so you can keep up to date with information about the subject.

If you have any questions about this please give us a call at the clinic where someone will be able to help you. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page

Blog Links

Hyp Dysplasia Part 1 – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part 2 – Click HERE

Elbow Dysplasia – Click HERE

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Click HERE

Arthritis – Click HERE

Bloat – Click HERE

Dogs and Car Travel

If you own a dog then you may, at some point, have to put him/her in a car. Whether it’s a trip to the vets or a longer journey there are several things to consider when it comes to the safety and comfort of your best friend.

Harnesses, Guards and Crates

We wear seatbelts and we make sure our kids are safely secured too. The same should apply to your dog.  They might be well behaved and sit quietly on the back seat. However, if you need to brake suddenly or if you bump your car, they could be thrown forward and get injured.  In a more serious bumb they could become a missile that will shoot forward and injure any of the people in the front of the car.

When deciding how to secure your dog, there are several choices available:

Dog Guard – This is a mesh which can be fitted between the boot and the back seat. This stops the dog from climbing over the seats. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection as your dog will not be protected from impact with the rear or side windows.  They need to be sturdy and properly secured in place to be effective as protection in case of accidents.

Crate – If you are going to put your dog in a crate you need to ensure, firstly, your car is big enough to hold it and secondly, the crate is big enough for your dog.  You need to make sure your dog is able to stand at full height and there is room for them to turn around and lie down in a normal position.  Make sure the dog can see out of the container and there is enough ventilation.  Also, by adding bedding to the crate it will help prevent the dog from slipping around.

Harness – If your dog is too big for a crate or you would prefer another option, then it’s worth considering a padded car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system. Make sure to measure your dog to make sure you get the right size.  We have read these are not entirely safe as the straps can dig into the dog’s skin during an accident.

By choosing one of these options, it will ensure your pet has a safer journey. However, there are still other things to consider if you are going on a long journey:

Before putting the dog into the car, make sure they have exercised beforehand. This will help them settle as they will have burned off some excess energy.

Some dogs get motion sickness/car sick. If you know you are going on a long journey, don’t feed them before you travel. Leave it a couple of hours. Also, don’t give them food whilst travelling.  Keep them calm and give them a new toy to play with so it takes their mind off being in the car. If this is a problem then we do have medications that can assist with travel sickness and ease their stress.

Make sure you have plenty of water and take regular stops so your dog can stretch its legs.

Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window.  It could result in injury. We have had dogs at the clinic that have done this and have had particles or small stones flicked up by tyres  that shoot into their eyes.  Also, some dogs may try to jump out.

Very Importantly, do not leave your dog in the car, especially on a hot day.  Whilst in the car, ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight.  Leaving a window open a crack is not sufficient as the inside of the car can get very hot and every year dogs die unnecessarily because they have overheated in cars.

These are a few hints and tips which we hope you will find useful. If you want more information, please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.

General health check for dogs

We were recently asked for hints and tips on checking a dogs general health. Whilst we are unable to give specific information we have listed below a few basic things you can look for to ensure your pooch is in good condition. Prevention is always better than cure and doing these basic checks monthly will help to keep your pet  a healthy and happy family member.

  • Body condition- running your hands over your dog you should be able to feel, and sometimes see the ribs with a slight covering of fat, see an hour glass shape at the waist and see the chest slope upwards towards the hind legs. By regularly checking your dog you will be able to notice any changes sooner rather than later
  • Ears- your dog’s ears should always be clean without any thick or discoloured discharge.  Make sure there are no signs of itchiness, redness or any odd smells.
  • Eyes- The eyes should be bright and clear without any signs of runniness, redness or soreness. If you notice your dog walking into things you should get them to the vets as soon as possible as there could be a more serious problem.
  • Nose- If the nose is healthy there shouldn’t be any signs of crusting and there should be no runny or thickened discharge.  Also, it’s worth noting that a healthy nose does not have to be cold and wet.
  • Mouth- bad breath can indicate underlying problems from digestive, kidney or bacterial infection. However, in a lot cases it could be a build of tartar or plaque which, if left, can build up and cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Skin and coat- your dog’s coat should be free of crusting, itching, scaling, infection, hot or inflamed areas. There should be no bald patches, dandruff or fleas.
  • Nails-should be smooth – if brittle and break easily they may need attention. Remember their dew claws if they have them
  • Digestion- always keep an eye on your dog’s appetite and what you are feeding them.
  • Waste – If you notice your dog’s toilet habits change or the consistency, this may indicate a problem.
  • Thirst- if your dog starts showing signs of increased thirst without exercise it may suggest an underlying problem.
  • Attitude- your dog’s general attitude and behaviour is always a sure sign as to how they are feeling.  If their head and tail are low and they seem quieter than normal then it could mean they are not feeling 100%

If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health please call us at the clinic or leave us a message on our Facebook page.

Micro-chipping

In the news recently there was an item regarding the compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs in England. The government are hoping it will help cut the growing number of strays.  Every dog owner will need to comply with this by 6th April 2016 and anyone that doesn’t could face fines of up to £500.

At Cherrydown we think it’s important for cats and dogs to be chipped so if you haven’t already done so you should seriously consider it.  If your pet gets lost they could end up in an animal welfare shelter. Normally the staff at the centre will scan the animal to check for a microchip. If they find one the owner will be contacted and will be reunitedwith their pet.

What is Micro-chipping?

The microchip (geek fact – also known as a RFID – Radio Frequency Identification Device) was introduced in 1989 and is the most effective way of permanently identifying a pet.  It’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains your information about your pet and your contact details.  The chip is inserted between the shoulder blades of a dog using a sterile needle.  The procedure only takes a few seconds and the dog doesn’t need to be anesthetised as it is no more painful than having a vaccination. Once inside the chip fuses with the dog’s bodily tissue to ensure it doesn’t move around.

At Cherrydown vets we choose to use Petlog, the UK’s largest Microchip Registration and Reunification Database, as we want to ensure our Clients and their pets get the best possible service.

After 6th April 2016 it will be down to the local authority and the police to enforce the law and vets will no doubt be regularly reminding dog owners to get their pet chipped. 

As always, if you have any questions about this subject or if you would like to get your pet micro-chipped please call us at the clinic. Alternatively, you can post your question on our Facebook page. 

The Siberian Husky

 The Siberian Husky (also known as the Arctic Husky) is a beautiful looking dog and they have lovely piercing eyes.  Huskies are thought to originate from Eastern Siberia where they were used to pull sleds over long distances by the Chukchi. They were exported to Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush and later spread into Canada and America. Once there they were used as sled dogs but over the years they became more popular as pets.

We have seen quite a few huskies at Cherrydown and know how popular they are as pets.  If properly trained they can be very good with people, children and other dogs. Huskies are commonly known for their friendliness toward people.

However, one thing that does upset us is there are many people who take on huskies without doing the proper research and end up dumping them or putting them in homes because they can’t handle them anymore.

In this blog we will go through a few things which are useful to know before getting a husky.

A Husky will shed A LOT!  You will have hair EVERYWHERE! We have heard from long term Husky owners that they shed from September to February and March to August. So basically, they will shed hair all year round.  Also Huskies will “blow their coat”. This means their hair will literally come out in chunks.  You are going to have to make sure you have Henry the Hoover on high alert when that happens. 

Huskies need A LOT of exercise as they extremely energetic and athletic. These dogs were bred to run for long distances and pull sleds so they will most likely leave you tired while they still have lots of energy.  However, use some common sense in the height of summer. These dogs are very hairy so if it’s really hot outside don’t let them over do it. Huskies are very intelligent and will need things to keep them occupied or entertained. If they are bored they can become very unhappy. They can also be very destructive if they are bored and left alone. You could come home and find your best shoes or the kids toys in tatters. Be prepared to give a husky a lot of mental and physical stimulation.

Huskies are very stubborn so can be harder to train than other dogs. That’s not to say it’s impossible but they will need a bit of extra work to get them to do as they are told.

cute huskies 2

These dogs have been bred to run and pull so if you are walking one on a lead you will definitely need a good arm to keep them from tugging you. These dogs are strong.  You will need a lot of patience to train them to behave on a lead.  As long as you are firm and consistent about the no-pulling rule and reward good behaviour you should get good results.  However this is not a guarantee.  Unless a husky has had good training from an early age, letting one of the lead is not a good idea unless it’s in an enclosed area. These dogs are natural hunters so if they are off the leash and spot a small animal they may be off without considering its surroundings and will ignore your commands. This could result to them being lost or injured.

Huskies like to dig. If you have a well kept garden you might find it full of holes. Be aware that Huskies might end up digging a hole under the fence and escaping.

Huskies have sensitive stomachs and can be fussy eaters. Speak to your vet for advice on feeding them.

Huskies are generally healthy dogs and could live to a ripe old age. However, as with a lot of breeds there are specific problems.  Many of the problems with Huskies are genetic such as seizures and eye disorders (such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy, canine glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy) and congenital laryngeal paralysis. Hyp Dysplasia isn’t common with this breed. However, as with all medium to large breeds, it can occur. If you want to know more about Hyp Dysplasia, the links to our blogs on the subject can be found at following links:

 

Hyp Dysplasia Part one – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part two – Click HERE

 

As with all pets, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Huskies can be hard work but the rewards will be great.

If you have any questions about this or any about any of our blogs please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page.

Cute Huskies 3

A close call at Christmas

One of the joys of having a dog is their playfulness. When they are happy and bounding around it cannot fail to put a smile on your face. However there are rare occasions where their exuberance can result with an injury.

Just before Christmas we had had an incident where a dog was bought in with a Christmas decoration lodged in its eye.  We spoke to owner to find out what happened.

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Ruby1

My wife and I were preparing for Christmas by getting all of the decorations from storage in the garage. Our chocolate Labrador, Ruby (always inquisitive), also joined us in the garage. However, she just got in the way. We shooed her out but unfortunately she knocked against a crate holding decorations and a branch type decoration that had eye loops at the end caught her on the head as she was moving out and the end lodged into her left eye socket. She darted away yelping loudly through my wife’s legs and the free end of the decoration caught in her trousers causing the decoration to become firmly hooked into Ruby’s eye lid. I then grabbed Ruby securely holding her to prevent her paws from aggravating the injury, whilst my wife unhooked the decoration from her trousers. My wife ran to get the pliers from my tool box in the kitchen. I cut the decoration to remove the majority of it. We were unable to remove the wire that was firmly fixed in Ruby’s eye lid. We then got ourselves ready and departed to the vets.


Ruby 2When Ruby was bought in Kim Woods, the duty vet, could see the 2 inch piece of metal poking out from the dog’s eye. Kim quickly realised it was hooked under her upper eyelid. As Ruby was quite distressed she was sedated and Kim had to cut the metal piece further as it was so curved and manoeuvring it further would have risked damage to the eye. Kim managed to get the piece of metal out but it left a hole in the conjunctiva, however, this healed well with the aid of antibiotics and pain relief. Luckily and almost unbelievably the eye itself was undamaged and there should be no permanent effects from this close call.

 

 

Ruby 3Ruby 5Over Christmas and New Year we have had to deal with many different types of pet injuries. They have been bought in to us inside and outside of normal working hours. Luckily, as we offer a true 24 hour service, our own vets and in-house nurses have been able to help no matter what time of day or night it has been. We think this is an important service as the pets and owners deal with people they know and trust.  Remember, if you and your pet need us we will be here for you 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

Labradoodles

iStock_000003966207_Large (1)What a great name that is! As most people know Labradoodles were created by crossing a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle. However, not a lot of people know they were originally bred to be used as guide dogs for people who are allergic to fur.  The idea was to combine the low shedding coat of the Poodle with the trainability of the Labrador. However, the experiment didn’t work and out of the first litter of pups only one passed the allergy test.

There is a myth that Labradoodles are hypoallergenic, however this is not true.  This is due to the unpredictable variations in their coats. It can be anything from wiry, soft, straight, curly or wavy.  No dog is allergy friendly, but poodles are a safer option as they are a low shedding breed.

iStock_000009396815_LargeGenerally, Labradoodles possess the gentle disposition of the Labrador and the intelligence and bounciness of the Poodle.  They are great with kids and for people who have special needs.  They are also highly intelligent, non-aggressive dogs that are easy to train. However, they will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation.

Although most Labradoodles are healthy, they can suffer from certain congenital health problems associated with both parent breeds. Labradors are susceptible to hip dysplasia and other joint problems. Labs are also at risk of developing eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts and retinal dysplasia. Poodles could develop problems such as hip dysplasiapatellar luxations, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and seizures.  As with all dogs, make sure you see your vet as soon as possible if your dog shows any signs of eyesight problems

If you look online and in the papers you will see many adverts and sites selling Labradoodle puppies. However, the majority of these will not have checked the health of the breeding dogs and/or the pups. Sadly, it will all about the money rather than the wellbeing and future health of the puppies.  If you are looking to buy a Labradoodle puppy we would recommend you do your homework and only buy from a reputable company.  The breeders should be able to supply documentation to show the health checks the parents and pups have had and will be able to offer information and advice about the possible health issues mentioned above. Also, it may be worth asking what generation of Labradoodle they are. For example, if they are pups from a Lab and a poodle or if they are bred from two Labradoodles.

If you are getting a Labradoodle or already have one we recommend your vet regularly checks them to ensure any issues are spotted at the earliest opportunity.

As always, if you need advice about buying a pup or if you have a Labradoodle and want more information  about any of the health problems  please call  the clinic or leave a question on our Facebook page

A white labradoodle flops his tongue out while looking at the camera
A white labradoodle flops his tongue out while looking at the camera

 

Great Danes

Great Danes may be big but they are a very friendly breed and have a lovely disposition.  Due to this they are known as the “Gentle Giant”.  With proper training they are loving, affectionate and are patient around children.  They love everyone and need to be around people.  Big as they are, Great Danes make very good house dogs. Admittedly they will take up all the space infront of the fireplace and you probably won’t get to sit on the sofa or comfy armchair ever again, but this is a small price to pay for having a big, loving, loyal, dependable dog.

All dogs love a walk and Great Danes are no different, however, you need to be careful not to over exercise them especially when they are young.  Puppies do not stay small for long and grow very quickly which puts them at risk of joint and bone problems.  Great Dane pups will have a lot of natural energy and owners have mentioned they take steps to minimise activity while their dog is growing.  We would not recommend taking your Great Dane pup jogging or running until it is at least 12-18 months old

Like a lot of big dogs, Great Danes could have certain health issues such as Panosteitis-Pano, Cardiomyopathy, Hypothyroidism and Hip Dysplasia.

Panostetis

This is a painful condition that occurs when Great Danes are pups and are growing rapidly. The symptoms are usually periods of lameness lasting 2-3 weeks and it may shift from leg to leg. Also, your dog may not be keen on exercise or going for walks due to the discomfort. Any lameness in a growing Dane is worth getting vet checked.

Cardiomyopathy

There are three types of Cardiomyopathy, but Dilated Cardiomyopathy is most common in Great Danes and can be deadly.  The chambers of the heart become enlarged and the thin wall of the affected chamber stretches and stops the heart from working properly.  As the heart is not performing as it should, it works harder to pump the blood around the body.  Also, fluid will build up in the lungs and abdomen. If Cardiomyopathy is suspected, an x-ray will be taken of your dog’s chest to assess whether there is fluid in the lungs and to look at the size of the heart. An ultrasound will be taken to assess cardiac chamber size and function. The dog may also be referred to a canine cardiologist for tests.  Some of the symptoms to look out for are an unexpected cough or it sounds like the dog is trying to clear its throat, trouble breathing, lack of appetite and lethargy or collapsing.  If you suspect anything contact your vet as soon as possible.

Hypothyroidism

A lack of thyroid hormone in the body is called hypothyroidism. Often the symptoms of a lack of thyroid hormone are not very obvious. The problem is usually seen in middle-aged or older dogs and quite often the symptoms come on so slowly that owners simply think their dog is just getting a bit old. Dogs tend to slow down a bit and be less keen to run around. Additionally, their appetite is usually normal but they may put on weight . Other common changes associated with the disease are bald patches on the body, other skin problems, or feeling the cold more than normal.There is no treatment which will make your dog’s thyroid gland start to work normally again. However, it is very simple to replace the missing hormone by giving hormone replacement tablets. These tablets will need to be given at least once (and often several times) every day for the rest of your dog’s life. However, once your dog is receiving these tablets they should get back to their normal self very quickly. Your dog should be happier and more active within a few weeks and if they had other symptoms (like skin disease) this should get better within a few months. Your vet will probably want to keep a check on your pet and may need to take several blood samples to ensure that the tablets are working properly but, after this, the long-term outlook for your dog is very good.

If you are thinking about getting a Great Dane please read our blog about getting a big dog to make sure they are right for you and your circumstances.  Click here to read it.

As always, if you have any questions about Great Danes or big dogs in general, please leave a comment or question on our Facebook page or call us at the clinic and we will be able to help you.

Getting a Puppy – Part 3

By now you should have decided on what sort of dog you want and you have found yourself reputable breeder. Do you know what you should look for when picking the right dog? The breeder should help with this, but just in case they don’t, here are a few tips.

Puppies should stay with their mother for about 7-8 weeks before leaving.  If you are offered a pup that is younger we would suggest you do not to take it.

A healthy puppy should have bright clear eyes and a clean shiny coat. Try to avoid getting a pup with a dull scurvy coat or a large pot belly.  If you get a puppy that has a disease it may never recover to full heath.  Your vet will be able to confirm if the pup is healthy and will be able to pick up any problems the puppy was born with.

Find out from the breeder about the state of the pups health and any treatments to date – have they been wormed, flea treated, vaccinated, micro chipped etc.

A normal pup should be playful and active. If the pup looks nervous or appears sleepy this is normally a bad sign.  However, normal puppies sleep a lot so it’s worth visiting on more than one occasion so you can make a judgement.

When you bring your pup home make sure you have the essentials such as a warm bed, food and water bowls, a collar with the name and address on and some grooming equipment. Also,lots of toys and chewable things as this will help to stop your pup from being bored (and chewing the legs of the dining table). It’s a good idea to keep feeding it the same food it has been given by the breeder for a few days then introduce different foods gradually.

If you have other animals we suggest you do not let your pup mix with them until it has had its vaccinations.  Once it has finished the course of vaccinations then you can think about letting your pup mix with other animals at home or out and about. If you bring your pup to the vets as soon as you can, it will be checked to ensure it is healthy and the vet can give you lots of helpful advice about what to do next.

Hopefully these blogs have given you some basic information about getting a puppy. We have put together a FREE guide to getting a puppy which you can download by clicking HERE. It also contains special offer vouchers which can save you money.  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 – Download your guide HERE to learn all you need to know about getting a pup and to take advantage of our special offers

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 clickingHERE

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