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

Getting a kitten – Part 2

Bringing a tiny kitten back to your home can be very exciting. However, you need to remember that the kitten will now be entirely reliant on you to make them feel safe, warm and comfortable in their new home as their mother will no longer be present.  It’s going to take a bit of planning when introducing a new kitten to your home but it will be worth it when your kitten grows into a confident, loving cat. Below are a few hints and tips on what you can do if you are bringing a new kitten home.

  1. For the first year kittens will grow and develop and they will have different nutritional requirements compared to fully grown cats.  There are a number of specially formulated foods available to ensure they get the right balance.   If you are unsure on what to feed your kitten your vet will be able to advise you.
  2. Now the kitten is away from its mother your kitten will need to feel safe, secure and warm. Make sure their bed is comfortable and is kept somewhere quiet and away from busy areas of the home
  3. Litter training – Getting a cat or a kitten to use a litter tray can be difficult but with patience you should be able to train them without too many problems.  When you buy a litter tray make sure it’s easy for the kitten to use. Preferably one with lower sides. When your kitten has grown you can upgrade to a deeper tray. Keep the tray in a quiet area of the house so your kitten isn’t put off.  Also, make sure the tray is away from the cat’s food and water.
  4. When it comes to training, place your kitten in the tray shortly after waking or after they have finished eating. If your kitten doesn’t scratch or dig try gently taking the paw and simulate digging. Alternatively, you move the litter around so the kitten knows it’s ok to do it and it also lets them get used to the noise. There is a good chance the kitten will not be interested and go off to another room.  It may be because they don’t need to go or they want privacy.  If you have a male kitten it could be because they have gone to look for a magazine to read while they are doing their business.
  5. Make sure you praise your kitten when they use the tray and never tell them off for not using it.  If the kitten is not using the tray, try placing it in there hourly until it gets the idea.
  6. NOTE: If you are pregnant, never touch dirty litter from the tray due to the risk of toxoplasmosis.
  7. Make sure your home is kitten proof. If you have any cords dangling (on blinds for example) ensure they are tied out of reach as kittens can get tangled and choked by anything swinging. If you have lots of electrical cords, try and bunch them together and tie them out of reach so the kitten doesn’t have the urge to chew them. Also, think about things that are kept in lower cupboards such as bleach and detergent. Kittens will be exploring the whole house.  You will want to ensure they do not come across anything poisonous or damaging to their health.  Make sure you keep the door closed on the washing/drying machine.  If it’s warm the kitten might climb in for a quick nap.  The best way to look at it, if it’s dangerous for a baby or small child then it’s dangerous for a kitten.
  8. If you have other pets in the house it is advisable to let your vet check them to make sure they are not carrying anything that could be harmful to the kitten.  When introducing other pets to the kitten make sure it’s fully supervised as you do not want the resident pets to get aggressive.  You may want to take it slowly over a few days so they can get used to each other.
  9. Kittens love to play so make sure they have lots of toys to keep them entertained. Ensure the toys don’t have sharp edges or bits hanging off that could choke them.  Do buy a scratching post. It will save wear and tear on your furniture 

There are lots of other useful things you can do to make sure your kitten has the best possible start in their new home.  One of the first things you can do is take your kitten to your vet as they will be able to tell you everything you will need to know from vaccinations to spays and neutering.  Cherrydown Vets offer a FREE service whereby you can bring your kitten along to see someone and they will give your kitten a full health check and offer advice.

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

Getting a kitten – Part 1

 Did you know the cat is now the most popular domestic pet in the UK? Cats and kittens make great pets but they are a big responsibility.  Cats will need lots of love and attention and, more importantly, they will need an owner who will be committed to them for the rest of their life – often 15 to 16 years or more.

If you are thinking of getting a kitten there are a few things you should look out for:

Kittens should be 8 weeks old when they leave their mother. Look for a kitten that is inquisitive, doesn’t shy away from people and is ready to play. Have a look at the mother as many of the kittens future traits may be in her. Is she a lap cat, is she happy to be handled?

A kitten should be nicely rounded.  Don’t get a kitten that looks skinny. Also, if it has a bloated stomach there is a good chance it could already have worms.

Kittens should have bright sparkly eyes.  If it has runny eyes, is sneezing or coughing then it would be better to avoid getting that kitten.

Check the kitten for fleas.  Lots of kittens will have them but they can be dealt with quite easily. Ask your vet about the best treatments for fleas.  If the kitten is really fluffy there is a good chance it is going to have long hair.  Invest in a good brush as the cat may need daily grooming to prevent hair balls.

Check the ears.  If there are brown or dark grey deposits in the ears it could indicate there are ear mites present.  Again, speak to your vet about how the problem can be treated.

Look for kittens with a nice temperament. Wild kittens will be difficult to tame. Get a kitten that will happily come to you and likes to be picked up and stroked.

So you have now picked your kitten and will be bringing it home.  In part 2 we will talk about introducing the kitten to your home, litter training and health checks.

Do please remember that there are lots of lovely cats available from rescue centres that are not necessarily kittens, but that will make wonderful pets. Their ages vary but there are often younger ones. Getting a slightly older cat has benefits as they are less likely to do things such as run up your curtains and otherwise cause less mess and/or damage.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please feel free to contact us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

Ticks and the removal of ticks

Every year we get many pets come through our doors with skin problems. The most common causes of these issues are fleas.   Another problem we regularly see is ticks

Now the weather is warmer and days are longer, there is a good chance you and your dog will be out in the parks, fields and countryside.  These are perfect places to find ticks.  Ticks are blood sucking parasites which live off the blood of mammals. They mostly live in damp areas on plants and climb onto animals (also humans) when they need to feed.   When a tick has climbed onto the animal it will attach its mouth parts into the skin and start to feed on blood.  The tick will remain there for several hours or even days until it has had enough.

Ticks like to attach themselves into crevices or onto places that have very little hair.  If your pet has a tick you will most likely find them behind ears, the inside legs (where the leg meets the body), in between the toes and folds of skin.  When a tick attaches itself it will be about the size of a pin head. However, once they start feeding they can grow to the size of a pea.  This is when people start to notice them. However, many pet owners mistake the tick for a wart or growth.

Is a tick harmful to my pet?

If there is a tick feeding on your pet the surrounding skin can become irritated and sore. The skin can also become infected.  Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, which is caused by bacteria in the blood. Luckily Lyme disease is uncommon in this area.  Symptoms of Lyme Disease are:

They may have difficulty walking due to stiffness or inflammation of joints

They are sensitive to touch

They may have difficulty breathing

They may have a fever, lack of appetite or depression.

In rare cases there could be problems with heart abnormalities and the nervous system.

If your pet shows any of these symptoms please consult your vet immediately.

How to remove a tick

The easiest way safely remove a tick is to see your vet. They will be able to give you a spray or a spot on solution which will kill it or they can safely remove them for you. Once they die they will drop off. However, if you want to do it yourself you need to make sure you do it properly.  Don’t listen to old wives tales about suffocating ticks in butter or burning them off with a cigarette.  Also, you can’t just pull them off willy nilly as you run the risk of leaving the head and mouth parts under the skin.  This can cause a foreign body reaction and require surgery to treat.

If you are going to remove a tick, firstly, we suggest you wear latex gloves to protect yourself from any infection the tick is carrying.  A good tool to use is a “Tick Twister”. You can get these from your vet.  These are small plastic picks which slides between the body of the tick and the animal.  You will then be able to twist the tick and remove it from your pet’s skin in one piece.  If you do not have a “Tick Twister” you can use a pair of blunt tweezers. However, you have to be careful not to squeeze the tick too hard as it can kill the tick and leave the head under the skin.  Once the tick has been removed, clean the skin and any soreness or redness should go after a couple of days. If after a couple of days the skin has not improved, or has started to weep, take your pet to see the vet.

If you have any questions regarding this subject you can call us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page (click HERE)

Jasper Hodgett’s Story

On the 2nd April 2013 Jasper Hodgetts was in a road traffic accident while his owners were away.  He was bought into us and we were able to identify him by his microchip which meant we were able to contact the owner straight away and let them know what had happened.  Jasper was treated by our vet Hayley Giles and this is what she had to say:

“Jasper was brought in to me after being found huddled in a hedge in Billericay by a passer-by. At presentation he was in shock with a swollen jaw and his breathing and heart rate were very elevated. We immediately stabilised him with fluid and oxygen therapy and administered pain relief. We scanned him and luckily he had a microchip which enabled us to contact his owners without delay. After a little while we took a catogram – an xray of the entire body to highlight any injuries. It was clear to see that he was suffering from a mild pneumothorax, a collection of air outside of the lung tissue which, if it accumulates to a large amount, can prevent the lungs from being able to expand and contract for normal breathing. This however was a very mild pneumothorax that would resolve with cage rest over a few days. Jasper’s left hip was also luxated, meaning the ball of the hip joint was not sitting nicely in the cup joint. This required surgical correction which was carried out a few days after when Jasper was feeling much better. Luckily Jasper’s swollen jaw was not due to any fractures or dislocations; he had however fractured one of his teeth. Jasper has made a brilliant recovery from his injuries and I and all the staff at Cherrydown are pleased to hear how well he is doing at home” 

Since the treatment we have heard Jasper is recovering well and his owner, Emma Hodgetts, has been kind enough to tell us her side of the story:

“Two years ago my friends cat had kittens, 2 ginger toms, 1 long haired and 1 short haired- Jasper and Ralph, I decided to have both. I brought them home at 12 weeks, registered them with a vet and got them insured. At 6 months old I got both the cats micro-chipped and neutered, both cats go out regularly especially during the summer when they enjoy playing in the garden and sleeping in the sun.

On Easter Monday I got home from a long day at work to a voice-mail saying that Jasper had been taken to Cherrydown after being run over by a car and was receiving treatment. I called straight away and the nurse who took my call explained the situation, current treatment, what was going to happen over the coming days, she was able to reassure me while being honest about what to expect when I visited the next day.

I was upset to see Jasper looking how he did but the nurse had prepared me well and it was obvious he was in good hands. All the staff were exceptional in their care not only of Jasper but of myself whilst I was there. Everything that was going to happen over the coming days was clearly explained, as well as what would happen depending on the outcome of the investigations.

Staff made visiting as easy as possible offering flexible visiting when needed as well as showing kindness, compassion and an obvious love for the animals in their care, I was happy to leave Jasper there knowing he was in the best possible hands.

Thankfully Jasper is micro-chipped meaning I was contacted soon after the incident, and being insured the whole process was made even easier by the direct insurance scheme which meant the cost of insurance will be collected directly from the insurance company, meaning I could concentrate on Jasper’s recovery rather than worry about covering the cost of treatment. After spending 8 days at Cherrydown Jasper is now at home and recovering well.” 

It’s not often we get the chance to hear both sides of story, but it does show the importance of getting your pet micro-chipped and insured.  Also, with our Direct Insurance service, a lot of stress was taken off Emma so she could concentrate on Jasper.  If you would like more information on Direct Insurance please click HERE to visit our website or call us at the clinic on 01268 533 636

Below are a couple of pictures of Jasper looking a lot better after his ordeal.  We would like to thank our vet, Hayley, and Emma for telling their story.

If you have a story about your pet and your experience at Cherrydown and you would like to share it, please send it to Shaun.Plunkett@cherrydownvets.co.uk and it might be published on the website and shared on Facebook



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.

Breaks and Fractures

At Cherrydown Vets one of the reasons pets are bought in to us is because of breaks or fractures to their bones.  It could be because of a car accident, a high fall, fighting, over exuberance or something more serious like bone cancer. There are two types of fractures, open and closed. An open fracture is when the bone breaks and pierces through the skin. A closed fracture is where the bone has broken but does not break the skin.

If your pet has had a heavy fall or an accident there are some things you can look out for to see if there is anything broken.

  • Your pet may hold the broken limb in an abnormal position
  • The limb will become very swollen
  • There may be an open wound with bone sticking through it.
  • You pet may be limping or is reluctant to put any weight on a particular limb
  • Your pet may hold up their limb and not put any weight on it at all
  • Your pet may not want the limb touched by anyone

Bones consist of an outer, hard portion known as the cortex and an inner area known as the marrow.  A fracture can range from a simple hairline fracture with little displacement of the bone to complex fractures where the bone has shattered into many pieces. If a fracture has taken place at a joint it can be even more serious.

If you believe your pet has fractured a bone you should take them to the vets immediately so they can be x-rayed. When the vet can see how serious the break is they can advise on the best course of action.

When it comes to transporting the animal, try to minimise movement of the affected area. If the bone is exposed cover with a clean, damp towel to protect the wound.  Also, be careful when moving your pet. No matter how friendly and soft they are, when animals are scared or in pain they may bite. If you have a dog it may be worth putting a muzzle on them.

The vet will do a thorough examination of the fracture and will also check for any other injuries. Once they have all the relevant information they will be able to decide what to do next. Each fracture is different but generally there are two types of treatment, depending on the fracture. The vet may recommend internal or external stabilisation.

External stabilisation – If your pet has a hairline fracture or something minor, the vet may choose to use splints, casts or padded bandages to keep everything in place.

Internal stabilisation – This involves surgery and your pet will be anesthetised It can be anything from inserting a metal pin lengthwise into the centre of the bone (like an internal splint) to metal plates, pins, screws and wires to hold together various pieces of bone or to fix a joint.  If it is a serious fracture your vet may refer you to an Orthopaedic Specialist.

There is no strict rule on the amount of time it can take to heal a fracture but generally, the younger the animal the sooner it will take.  You need to make sure you limit the amount of exercise your pet does during the healing process to ensure the bones stay aligned. If your pet has too much activity it could refracture the bone and delay the healing or your pet could have a deformed limb due to stress on a weakened bone.  During the healing period your vet may take further x-rays to ensure it’s healing properly and let you know when your pet’s limb is back to normal.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to discuss this with you. Alternatively, you can post your question on our Facebook page.

Looking after your pets during the winter months.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. We are heading towards winter and it’s the time of year where you will be wearing your big coat, plus a bobble hat and scarf to keep warm.  Even though your pets are covered in fur, they will need a bit of help to keep warm too -especially if they are very young or very old. Also, dogs such as whippets, greyhounds and other dogs with low body fat or thin coats will need help keeping out the cold.

Below are a few hints and tips on looking after your pet’s health during the winter months.

Firstly, we recommend you read our blog about the dangers of anti-freeze poisoning. Click here to take a look. Antifreeze can be harmful to pets so care needs to be taken. Ethylene glycol is a constituent of antifreeze and is toxic causing acute kidney failure. It is sweet tasting and attracts cats, dogs & children for this very reason.

If you have a dog, no matter the weather, it will still need a walk. It’s worthwhile remembering that if you are cold there is a good chance your dog will be cold too.  If there is a lot of snow , remember that the smaller breeds of dogs that are trudging belly deep through the snow will feel the effects quicker than a larger dog.  Another thing to be careful of is hidden dangers below the snow. There could be broken glass, barbed wire or other sharp objects. Try and stick to well know routes to minimise the risk of your dog getting injured.

Ice Balls – Now this isn’t a big danger but if not checked it can cause discomfort and pain. If you have been out with your dog in the snow, check their feet for ice or compacted snow.

If it’s icy it may not be a good idea to throw balls or sticks as your dog may slip and injure itself. Take it easy unless you know the ground is ok to run around on.

Every year there are a number of reports where dogs fall through thin ice and either drown or suffer from hypothermia. If you walk your dog near large ponds or lakes, do not let them go onto the ice as you will not be able to tell how thick or safe it is.

If you are out walking your dog in the dark, you will be seen a lot easier if both you & your dog are wearing something reflective.

Don’t leave a dog or a cat outside for long periods without providing access to shelter and warmth.  As they could  suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. The most common cause of hypothermia is when a pet has been outside  for too long in freezing rain or snow.

During the summer months you are advised not to leave pets in your car as they could suffer from heatstroke.  When it’s cold you should not to leave your pets in the car as it can get very cold.

Could you spot the signs of hypothermia?   In severe casesyour pet might not show typical signs such as shivering, but it may become lethargic, disorientated and will have a slow heart rate and problems breathing.  Also, it will have cold ears and feet.  If you believe your animal may have hypothermia you should dry off your pet as quickly as possible (if it’s wet), wrap it up in warm towels together with a coveredhot water bottle to help raise the body temperature. Also, contact your vet for advice.

If you have an older cat or dog, it’s a good idea to keep them away from cold drafts and make sure they have a warm bed especially if they have arthritis.  If they are going out for walks, older dogs will appreciate a warm jacket when they go outside.  If you are going out and leaving your pet at home make sure the house is warm. Older pets will feel the cold in their joints and will be uncomfortable.

Cats are happy to sit inside and keep warm, however, if you cat normally goes to the toilet outside they may have second thoughts about going out in the cold and will hold onto their urine to the point where it is dangerous.  By holding it in cats may run the risk of infections and blockages.  To make it easier for them, leave a litter tray out for their use. If that doesn’t work you will have to be cruel to be kind and take them outside to do their business.

Small Furries

If you keep guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, they can be kept outside but it’s advisable to move them indoors. Keep them in a warm shed or a car-less garage (fumes from the exhaust can be harmful to your pets)

Cover the hutch at night with a blanket or an old piece of carpet making sure it is still well ventilated. Also, add some extra bedding for warmth.  Remember to keep an eye on your pet’s water bottle to make sure it isn’t frozen.


If you have a pond that contains fish and it freezes over it is important to remember to put a hole in the ice. By doing this it releases the toxic metabolic by-products such as carbon dioxide.  Do not break the ice by force as this could cause distress to the fish.  Use a saucepan of hot water to gently melt a hole in the ice. Do not tip boiling water straight onto the pond as this could harm the fish.

A lot of the tips we have given are common sense but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.  If you have any questions about pet care please call the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will reply to you as soon as they can.

Pets – Legal Obligations

Recently, on our Facebook page, someone asked us for advice on the legal obligations of owning a pet. Rather than just let one person know we thought a blog would be a better idea

Firstly, have you heard of the Animal Welfare Act 2006? It goes into a lot of detail and if you want to read all of it we will add a link at the bottom of the blog, however, on a basic level it states:

Anyone who is responsible for an animal has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure that the animal’s needs are met.  This means that the person has to look after the animal’s welfare and ensure that it does not suffer.  The act states the animal’s welfare needs to include:

A suitable environment

A suitable diet, including fresh water

The ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns

Any need it has to be housed with or housed apart from other animals

Protection from pain, suffering, injury or disease

If you have a dog there are certain laws you need to be aware of.  It is against the law to let your dog be dangerously out of control in a public place or in a private place where the dog isn’t supposed to be (in a neighbours house or garden for example)

Your dog is considered out of control if it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them.  Also, a court may decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if it injures someone elses animal or if the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.

There is a lot of information relating to owning a pet on the government website such as banned dogs, DCO’s (dog control orders) , banned dogs and dog fouling. Also, it may be worth checking your local council’s website for information.

For more information about the animal welfare act , please click here 

Information about controlling your Dog, DCO’s, banned dogs and dog fouling, please click here

Information from about animal welfare from Basildon Council, please click here

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

Pet Passports

If you want to travel abroad with your pet you need to get a Pet Passport as this will help you avoid long quarantine periods when you return.  The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is designed to stop the spread of rabies and other diseases while still allowing your pet to travel.  From 1st January 2012 all pet cats, dogs and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the scheme criteria.  Rabbits or rodents that are travelling around the EU do not need one as they are not subject to any requirements with regard to rabies.

The criteria for your pet cat, dog or ferret is:

They must be fitted with a microchip and once this has been done they need to be vaccinated against rabies.

Your pet will need to be issued with a Pet Passport

There will need to be a gap of at least 21 days from the date of the first rabies vaccination before re-entering the UK or travelling to another country.

If you are travelling with a dog you will need to ensure it is treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before returning to the UK.

Finally, your pet will need to travel into the UK on a PETS-approved sea, air or rail route.

When you get your Pet Passport it will contain the details of you (the owner), the pet, including the microchip number, rabies vaccination and blood test details.  There are also sections to record the tapeworm treatments required for entry to the UK.  You can even have a scary passport photo of your pet included although this is optional.

If you do plan to go abroad with your pet, one thing to remember, you must book your return journey home with one of the PETS approved carriers on a PETS approved route.  There is a limited amount of space and it is allocated on a first come first served basis.  Make sure you book in plenty of time or your pet won’t be able to travel. Also, when returning to the UK the Pet Passport will be checked and if there is any paperwork missing or the pet has not had the correct checks and vaccinations, it could be taken into quarantine

If you would like more information about the approved carriers and routes, please click here

Finally, if you are taking your pet abroad you need to ensure it will be comfortable during the journey. Here are a few tips:

Make sure you get a carrying container that is big enough for your pet.  Before the trip, let your pet try it out and get used to it.  Put a familiar cushion or blanket in there as this will help your pet to settle.  The carrier should be well ventilated and there should be enough room for the animal to move around.  Also, ensure it has enough food and water for the trip with easily refillable containers for longer journeys.

If it’s going to be a long journey make sure your pet is fit and healthy enough to do it.

Make sure you feed your pet about 2 hours before the trip.  Nothing too heavy.

Make sure your pet has had a walk and been to the toilet before travelling.

Below are more links to the Defra website where you will find lots of other useful information about travelling with your pet.   If you have any questions about getting a passport for your pet please call us at the clinic, email at enquiries@cherrydownvets.co.uk or post a message on our Facebook page 

Traveling with your pet – http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/

List of countries and territories – http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/countries/

Bringing pets into the UK – http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2011/06/30/pb13582-bringing-pets-into-uk/