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


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

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.

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/

Getting a Puppy – Part 1

There are very few things more heart-warming than seeing a puppy running around your home. Your new pup will find everything very exciting as it explores its new surroundings.  It can bring you great joy and as it grows it becomes more than just a dog. It becomes part of the family.

However, not all puppies are lucky enough to find a person or family to keep them for the rest of their lives. According to the RSPCA, one fifth of the people who bought a puppy over the past couple of years no longer have them.

If you are thinking about getting a puppy there are many important things you need to consider.

Can you make a lifelong commitment to keeping a dog? – The average lifespan of a dog can be between 10-15 years. Can you ensure your dog is safe and well looked after for that length of time? Remember, circumstances can easily change so think long and hard about this.

Can you afford it? –Once you have paid for your pup there is the cost of food, toys and accessories, vet bills, worm and flea products, insurance, training classes and even additional costs to your holidays as your dog may have to be kept in a kennel while you are away.

Is your home big enough or suitable for keeping a dog? – If you live in a small flat it is probably not practical to get a Great Dane or a Rottweiler.  However, if you have a large roomy house and a big back garden then a larger dog  may not be a problem.

Will the puppy/dog be left alone for long periods of time? Puppies require an enormous amount of time and patience from their new owners. House-training, grooming, socialising, training, feeding, exercising etc take a long time to achieve. These are successfully achieved if someone is with the puppy most of the day at home. If the puppy is going to be on its own for 8 hours a day while everybody is at work a dog may not be such a good idea. Also, like humans, dogs can get lonely.

Will you be able to take your dog out for walks and regular exercise? – Dogs need regular walks and exercise so you or someone in your home needs to ensure they take the dog out. It will also be good for your own fitness levels too.

Have you researched what sort of dog is best for you? –There are many things to think about when deciding what sort of dog you want to go for such as the size of the dog when fully grown, do you want a pedigree or crossbreed, do you want male or female, coat length and type.  Some breeds are better with children than others, some do not like to be left alone and can suffer separation anxiety, some are more prone to certain medical conditions while others require more exercise and grooming. It can also be useful to speak to other owners, visiting shows and talking to breeders, vets and dog trainers.

Owning a dog is a big responsibility, but the enjoyment you get can make it all worthwhile. Also it can help keep you healthier and add another aspect to your social life.  Training classes and walks are great ways to meet like-minded people who will share their stories, tips and ideas

If you have fully thought about it, weighed up the pros and cons and decided you have the time, money, patience and love to give to a dog then you should start to look around to find a reputable place to buy puppies.  In part 2 we will go through the options on where to go and what to look for when purchasing puppies.

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


Every now and again we all have an itch we have to scratch. Your pets do the same. If you see them having a good scratch it’s most likely just a random itch or a tickle. However, if they are constantly scratching or biting the same area and seem to be in discomfort it may be something serious.

Mange is an unpleasant skin disease caused by several different species of tiny mites that burrow beneath the skin. There are a variety of mites that can cause the disease, but only a handful of them affect your pets. There are two common types of Mange

Sarcoptic Mange – (also known as canine scabies) is an extremely itchy skin disease that is common in dogs. The mite burrows into the skin to lay eggs and the spread of the mites can cause irritation and inflammation. As the dog continues to scratch or bite it can injure itself causing lesions and cuts to appear. It is very common in foxes and they are the commonest source of infection in dogs in the UK. Mange is highly infectious to other dogs and to humans

Demodectic Mange – This is a common variety of Mange most often seen in young dogs. The mite lives and feeds in the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin. In most cases dogs with this form of Mange will only get a few isolated patches on their body. The most common signs of Demodectic Mange are hair loss, a greasy or damp look, and red crusty skin. Itchiness develops once the skin becomes infected due to the mange

Many people try over the counter remedies to treat their pet at home. However, some of these will not work as they may have been formulated for a particular type of Mange and without knowing what form your pet has you cannot guarantee results.

If you suspect your pet may have Mange it is important to let your vet take a look and diagnose which form of Mange it has as each variation may require a different treatment. The vet will perform a physical examination and will take a look at a skin sample under the microscope. It can be difficult to identify Mange mites if they are burrowed deep under the skin so the vet may rely on clinical signs and the pet’s history.

Remember, if your pet starts scratching it’s probably not down to Mange. In the majority of cases they probably have a tickle or a general itch. However, if you think your pet may have Mange, contact us at the clinic for more information. If you have any questions regarding this subject or any other questions you may have please leave a message on our Facebook page and one of our team will get back to you asap.

Cherrydown Vets launches new support groups

Cherrydown Vets launches new support groups: Tri Paw Pals and Animal CanCare

If you’ve seen our logo, it reads “Cherrydown Vets Ltd  –  to us they’re one of the family.” That’s not just a nice tag, but how we see your pets and the way we think they should be cared for by us. We believe support and care beyond just the clinical needs of your pet are extremely important. Just as with people, serious illness in pets can cause great distress and worry in a family. Not only is it important to get the right treatment physically it can be an enormous benefit emotionally to be able to talk to others who have been, or are going through the same experiences. So that’s why we put our heads together and have come up with two new Facebook pages to start to bring together people whose pets are going through the same difficult times. Animal CanCare is our support group for people whose pets are suffering from cancer and Tri Paw Pals is our animal amputee support group. In the coming weeks and months we will start to populate the pages with useful advice, interesting articles and stories of animals we see and treat. But that’s only part of what these Facebook Pages are for. The main reason to have them is to allow you, the owners to tell us and others, about your experiences and the things that you found helped, or made coping and making decisions that bit easier. We will answer your questions where we can, or put you in contact with people we think might help. While these pages have been set up by Cherrydown Vets we have not set this up just for our clients. We want to invite people from all over the country to join in, to help fellow pet owners and form a community that helps one another with guidance and input from us and other experts we think can help you. For those of you that are joining us here at the beginning of this journey, things aren’t going to be immediate as it will take time to build and gather momentum. But bear with us, join in and tell your friends about these pages so that word spreads and soon a few will become many and the help, support & ideas will grow.

So there you have it, now it’s partly up to you to help make these pages what you want them to be. So go on, write a comment, tell us if you like us, post photos of your pets and tell us about your experiences and how we can make your journey, and that of your pet, just a little bit easier. We look forward to hearing from you. If you want to contact us or know more about Cherrydown Vets then visit our social media sites: Our web page – http://www.cherrydownvets.co.uk where, amongst other things, you can see videos of us going about our business and realise why we love what we do. Our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/CherrydownVets where we interact with our friends on a daily basis offering a mix of informative blogs, topical information, details of local events and a few things to bring a smile to your day. Our Twitter Page (@CherrydownVets)  – http://twitter.com/CherrydownVets where we keep you up to date with what we’re up to and who we’re following.