Canine Parvovirus – Vaccination versus 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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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.

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

Staffordshire Bull Terriers

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, (more commonly known as a staffie, staffy or staff), is a medium sized, muscular dog that is very strong for its size and is similar in appearance to the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit-bull Terrier. Currently they are the 5th most popular dog in the UK.

The staffy was originally bred in Staffordshire in the 19th century from crosses between bulldogs and various terriers.  At the time the dogs were used for bull and bear baiting. However, as people lost interest in the sport the breed became less common.  It wasn’t until the 1930’s when staffys became popular again.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are intelligent, fearless and loyal dogs. They have the nickname of “the nanny dog” because of the affection they show for children and the loyalty and willingness to protect the family. Staffys love the company of people and do not like to be left alone for long periods.

If you get a staffy as a puppy, make sure you have plenty of tough items for them to chew on.  They have very strong jaws so a cheap toy with a squeaker won’t last very long. If you do get a squeaky toy that is getting ripped apart make sure you take it off them as the squeaker could end up choking the dog.

Generally, staffys do not mix well with other dogs unless they are socialised from a very young age so it is important to get them interacting with other dogs as soon as possible.  If you are out and about with a staffy, make sure you keep a strong lead on them as they do like to go off and have their own adventures.  Also, as these dogs are fearless, they are not afraid of roads and can go running out. We have seen many staffys over the years come into the clinic due to car accidents.

This breed is generally healthy. However, like all breeds, there may be certain hereditary problems. Some issues that staffys may have include Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts, L-2 Hydroxglutaric Aciduria, Skin Allergies and Demodectic Mange.  There will be staffys that will not suffer with any of these problems and will lead long and healthy lives. However, it’s always useful to know what potentially could occur.  We will add a few links at the bottom of the blog regarding some of these issues.

Overall these dogs are very loving, energetic and enthusiastic and will be a good addition to your family.  With the correct upbringing, training and socialisation you will have a brilliant pet.

Here are a few hints and tips:

Firstly, if you are looking to buy one don’t go to a puppy farm, a pet store or a breeder who cannot show you any documentation on breeding tests or vet checks.  Make sure the breeder you choose is reputable.

These dogs love people and are companion dogs. They are not the sort of dog to leave outside

To be safe and to keep them under control, keep them on a lead. They can be aggressive to other dogs. Even after proper training and socialisation, some staffys will not get along with other animals.

Staffys are energetic and will need lots of vigorous exercise each day.

Staffys love to chew things especially as pups. Make sure you get them strong toys to play with.

Staffys like to dig so make sure your fences are reinforced or else they will dig underneath and escape.

They are not good in the heat so if it’s a hot day keep an eye on them. You can read our blog about keeping pets cool by clicking HERE.

As we have mentioned, these dogs love people and will be very protective of the family. However, they do not feel the same about property and possessions.  They are not natural guard dogs.

If you have any questions about this please call us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page (click HERE) and someone will respond

Boss and the Snake Bite Scare

Boss Wood is a lovely friendly two and a half year old Staffie. Helen Wood and her partner Max look after Boss while their son Gary is at work. Yesterday they took him out for a walk near the fishing lake at Lee Chapel Lane in Basildon. They were walking along a path near the lake with Boss off the lead when suddenly they saw an adder curled up on the path with Boss approaching it. In a split second the snake lunged at Boss but they were initially unaware that Boss had been bitten. They both had mobile phones and took photos of the snake as it disappeared off into undergrowth.

 Snake


After a few minutes Boss became woozy and they realised he had been bitten. Max picked Boss up & ran a mile or so with him in his arms while Helen ran ahead and got the car. They rushed Boss into us at Cherrydown Vets where our vet Kim Woods saw him immediately. Boss was a bit wobbly and his foot was beginning to swell. Because they had pictures of the snake we were able to confirm it was an adder bite rather than an allergic reaction which can present with similar signs. Boss was put on a drip & given steroids to reduce the inflammation as well as an antihistamine injection to prevent an allergic reaction to the venom. He was also given antibiotics and pain relief to make him more comfortable. Despite this treatment the leg continued to swell above the elbow, so it was decided to give him anti-venom. Anti-venom itself can often make an animal very ill by inducing an adverse reaction so it is only used if an adder bite can be confirmed & the animal does not respond to the initial treatment.

Boss responded well and after staying with us overnight he was sent home on antibiotics. We will however need to see him regularly over the next few days as adder bites can cause tissue necrosis (cell death) in the immediate area surrounding the bite, which may require further antibiotics.

Because Boss was brought in to us so quickly it will reduce the chance of any long term effects from the bite. Adder bites are painful, often cause swelling but in rare instances if left untreated, can result in clotting defects, kidney failure and even death. With the start of the warmer weather dog walkers need to keep an eye out for snakes in the undergrowth or basking on paths. We usually see a few dogs each year that are bitten by snakes and we have a blog on our website for further information and advice

What to do if your dog is bitten by a snake – Click HERE

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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.

For more information on this see our blogs…..

How to keep your pets cool – Click HERE

Beware  of heatstroke in pets – Click HERE

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.